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Music and memories

Colonie Town Band connects area’s musicians with one another, and the community

The Colonie Town Band has roughly 70 members, with 55 players each performance. They perform during the summer and winter holiday season throughout the Capital District at venues like nursing homes, town parks and schools.

The Colonie Town Band has roughly 70 members, with 55 players each performance. They perform during the summer and winter holiday season throughout the Capital District at venues like nursing homes, town parks and schools. Submitted photo

Two seasons make for year-round work

While the town band only performs during the summer and the winter holiday season, they work hard year-round to perfect their sound. Starting in January, the group gathers at Colonie Town Hall for two-hour practices each Monday night, preparing songs for the summer program. The band fills almost every Monday night of the summer with a concert throughout the region, finishing off the season at Old Fashioned Sunday in September at the Pruyn House on Old Niskayuna Road in Latham. Oppenlander said getting such a large group together on a frequent basis can be difficult, so targeting Monday evenings has been the key to successful practices and performances.

Pieces are selected by Oppenlander, who is a clarinetist, Co-Director Jeff Seckinger, who is a percussionist, and Assistant Conductor Iris Tozzi, a French horn player. Programs typically include about 10 tunes ranging anywhere from traditional marches to classical pieces and Broadway medleys.

“When we do programs we like to have something for everybody,” Oppenlander said. “You want something that you know audiences will enjoy on a summer night.”

Oppenlander said they often pick songs that will challenge the musicians and help them grow musically, as well as tap into a new sound the audience may have not heard before. Meeting that goal each year can be challenging.

“I personally love to put programs together, to pick out music for both us and the audience. It’s a challenge, and I really admire conductors of musical organizations, professional or high school or community groups, of every year coming up with new programs that are interesting and fresh,” Oppenlander said.

At the end of the summer concerts, the directors invite children to come up and conduct the band, adding to that overall community feel.

With a short break after Old Fashioned Sunday, the band begins gearing up for their winter season to play for nursing homes and other organizations.

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