By ROB JONAS
In 1969, Donald Webster formed the Guilderland Town Band to give residents young and old an opportunity to play music together.
Fifty years later, the concert band continues to delight audiences at Tawasentha Park’s Guilderland Performing Arts Center each summer with its blend of marches, show tunes and other popular American music.
“[The ages range] from high school students to people in their 80s,” said Hillary Fink. “Many of the people in the band just play as a hobby, myself included. There’s also many [music] teachers in the band, either current or retired.”
The band has been pulling out all the stops for its golden anniversary season. It commissioned band member James Corigliano, who is also a composer and retired music teacher, to write “Golden Jubilee March,” which the group premiered at its June 20 show. At its July 11 show, Donald Webster Scholarship winner Zoe Stinson performed Clare Grundman’s “Concertante” accompanied by the band, and Claudia Golub sang “The Prayer.”
For its season finale on Aug. 1, the band will be directed for three songs by guest conductor Anthony Maiello, who is the artistic director for the American Festival Pops Orchestra in Washington, D.C. Also, Webster will return to the stage to lead the band in its traditional closing number, “The Stars and Stripes Forever.” Band alumni will join the current members for the last song of the season.
All Guilderland Town Band performances at Tawasentha Park are free, although donations are accepted. This year, half of all patron donations will be placed in a special fund for Guilderland High School’s music program to help repair and replace instruments, as well as supporting scholarships for music students.
The Aug. 1 show begins at 7:30 p.m. at Tawasentha Park on Route 146 in Guilderland. In case of rain, the show will be moved to the Guilderland High School auditorium. The Guilderland Town Band’s shows are part of the Guilderland Performing Arts Center’s Summer Concert Series.