In Concert:
Community Music Groups Working Together

A Newsletter of Southwestern Pennsylvania Band Partners

Fall 2006
Volume 2 Issue 4 
Printable Version in PDF Format

Inside This Issue: 
East Winds Symphonic Band turns 25 | Jeannette Community Band | Band Directory Additions | Results of the Grant Survey | ABC's of Grant writing | Combined Concert Calendar  | Band Websites | Contact US

East Winds Symphonic Band Celebrating 25 years of Music

Prose provided by Roger Schneider and Wendy Noe. Combined, added to, and edited by Sarah McElfresh

The summer of 1981 saw the beginnings of a major change in the musical scene in the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. It was then that three young amateur musicians decided they couldn't possibly play one more season with the rather casual area concert band they had joined just a few short years before. The musicians were: Ed Dzenis, a clarinet and saxophone player from Monroeville, Ron Johnson,  who lived in Forest Hills and played the tuba; and Roger Schneider, a baritone horn player also from Forest Hills. Their goal was a simple one - to start a high-quality community band for serious amateur musicians in the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh – an “amateur Eastman Wind Ensemble” as Schneider liked to describe it.

The summer months were spent diligently networking with musical friends and family in hopes of having the necessary instrumentation ready in September to begin the new band. In fact the very first recruiting poster used just that name for the group, in a headline urging interested musicians to “Come blow your horn, toot your flute or beat your drum with an all-new concert band!”

 Having connections with South Avenue United Methodist Church in Wilkinsburg resulted in rehearsal space  (although not ideal due to a low ceiling) and  Jay Stivanson, the husband of the church organist/Music Director  agreed to help out and conduct for a year.  Stivanson taught music as a full-time faculty member of the Churchill School District, he played excellent oboe and he also turned out to be an excellent first conductor. 

 It was slow going at first in finding musicians, and the instrumentation at the first few rehearsals was not ideal, but things were moving along.   After a few weeks membership was growing and rehearsals were moved to the Wilkinsburg borough building on October 12, 1981. By the end of November there were already 26 band members in addition to Jay Stivanson. The initial instrumentation included 14 woodwinds, 11 brass and 1 lone percussionist! Each week Jay brought in music borrowed from other groups, and the new band slowly began to develop a small, but challenging repertoire. 

Now all that was needed was a name.  Band members were encouraged to suggest names for the group,  and finally, oboist, Dick Steinbrunn from Monroeville had a “eureka” moment.  His suggestion won immediate approval.  “The East Winds Symphonic Band.”  Now there was a name the young band could grow into! So all the elements were now in place for the new group to begin making performance plans for the new year 1982. The first concert was performed on February 1, 1982.

Since 1982 the band has played in many locations in Allegheny and Westmoreland Counties.  Some favorites and memorable concerts have been presented at Forest Hills; Ligonier; Kennywood Park; Twin Lakes; Bach, Beethoven, and Brunch; Rodef Shalom Temple;  the Three Rivers Arts Festival; and the Three Rivers Community Band Festival. Today the band performs a wide array of music including marches, music from stage and film, symphonic works, and other music written for concert band.

James Rossetti conducted the group from 1982 through early 1990, and Susan Sands has conducted the group since that time.  Sands has a B.M. degree in Music Education, specializing in Oboe, from Susquehanna University and a M.Ed. in Music from The Pennsylvania State University. Susan has performed with the Harrisburg Symphony and the Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra with both the Oboe and English Horn.

In 2002 founding member, Roger Schneider received the 2002 WQED-FM/Dominion Peoples VITA (Volunteer in the Arts) Award.  One of Roger’s dreams was for there to be a band festival highlighting community bands of the region.  The cash portion of the VITA award was used as seed money for The Three Rivers Community Band Festival, the first of   which was held in 2004.

Membership is open to anyone with instrumental experience. If you are interested in joining  visit their web site at for details.

Part of the 25th anniversary celebration includes a concert October 28th at Rodef Shalom Temple in Oakland.  The band is also putting on a Holiday Concert December 2nd in Murrysville and they have invited the Murrysville Festival Chorus to join them.  See the Concert Calendar for details.

Profile of the Jeannette Community Band
Provided by their website with permission from Sherrie Wood
The Jeannette Community Band was originally organized as the Jeannette Centennial Band in May of 1988 for the purpose of performing for the city of Jeannette's Centennial Celebration.  Other organizations associated with Jeannette's 100th birthday have been dissolved, however, the band, backed by tremendous community support, continues to rehearse and perform.  We perform concerts throughout the summer in the City of Jeannette and its surrounding communities.  During its eighteen years of existence,  The Jeannette Community Band has performed well over 100 concerts in the area.  Typically attendance at our concerts is 300 - 400 people.

 The Jeannette Centennial Band, now appropriately renamed The Jeannette Community Band is currently comprised of over 60 musicians from Jeannette and surrounding communities ranging in age of 13 to 85 years old.  Our members consist of high school and college students, professionals, ex-professionals, band directors, and other who enjoy playing a musical instrument and like to socialize with people who share a common interest.  We play music that consists of a mix of show tunes, marches, big band and light classical.  We also perform an annual Christmas concert.  While many community bands have only one director, we are fortunate to have two-  Carl Masciantonio and Ron Stemple.

 The Jeannette Community Band is located in Jeannette, Pennsylvania, a community about 25 miles east of Pittsburgh, in Westmoreland County.  Our practices and three of our concerts are held at the Jeannette American Legion, 109 S. 5th Street, Jeannette, PA. We rehearse every Tuesday evening from 7:30-9:15 p.m. except for a Winter break beginning after our Christmas Concert through early March.  We also take a brief Summer break after our last August Concert until the first Tuesday after Labor Day.

 New members are welcome at anytime.  Many of our new band members haven't play in years but want to take up their instrument again.  We have auditions but they mostly help our conductors get to know you and your abilities.

 There are no dues or charges to join The Jeannette Community Band, however we do ask that band members bring their own music stands. We depend on sponsors, 50/50 raffles, and donations for our funding. Past sponsors include Elliot Turbomachinery Company, Jeannette, PA. and Citizens Bank.

Southwestern PA Community Bands (As of September 26, 2006)
There are no updates from the last issue.  If you are aware of community bands in the region that are not yet in the online directory please let them know about us.

send email to

Special Feature Section on Grants
Survey on Applying for Grants
Conducted between August 4th and September 20th.
We sent the following survey to the 26 community bands in our region that participate with SWPABP in some way.  We received responses from 12 groups for a 46% return rate.  The survey is listed below with a break down of the results.

Grants Survey for Southwestern PA Band Partners
1) Does your organization apply for grants? If yes go to question 2. If no, go to question 4.
2) If your organization applies for grants, what sources do you target?
 -Pittsburgh area foundations (family and corporate)
 -Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council  (merger of Pro Arts & GPAA)
 -RAD (Allegheny Regional Asset District)
 -Pennsylvania Council on the Arts
 -Department of Economic & Community Development
 -Other (feel free to specify)

  3) Grant money is used for what purposes?
 -Operating expenses (rent, etc.)
 -Capital expenditures (purchase music, equipment, etc.)
 -Seed Money
 -Audience development
 -Guest artists

4) If your organization does not apply for grants, reason:
 -Financially stable and fully funded
 -Not aware of grant opportunities
 -Lack of dedicated personnel to work on applications
 -Process too complicated
RESULTSpie chart of survey results
Question 1: 25% Yes 75% No

Questions 2: 
Each answer was selected by the different groups that apply for grants as well as other foundations and other subsidiary groups that distribute Pennsylvania Council on the Arts funds.

Question 3: 
Again all of the items listed were things the different groups used the grant money for.  Multiple groups used or planned to use money for publicity or seed money for other projects.

Question 4: 
The graph to the right shows the break down of the reasons given for not applying for grants. Some of the groups that were financially stable gave the following as to reasons why: A) little or no overhead costs (free use of rehearsal/performance space)   b) receive enough in concert donations to cover costs c) Members donate as needed for expenses (operating or otherwise) d) Sponsors for specific concerts

See the article on the next page which discusses grant writing and some of the other reasons groups do not apply for grants.  See our first newsletter (Fall 2005) for information on some of the funding agencies listed above or visit our links web page.

The ABC's of Grant Applications
By Kathy Wikowski
Applying for grant money is often uncharted territory for many non-profit groups.  In a recent survey by this organization to area community musical organizations (mainly bands), 34% of those responding were not aware of opportunities for financial assistance through grant agencies and 24% felt the process was too complicated.  In reality, yes, it does take some effort and dedication, but the results are well worth the effort and by following some guidelines, grant applications may well become part of your organization's annual fund-raising effort.

There are many reasons for an organization to apply for grants.  First and foremost is the financial assistance, but other factors also play a significant role.  Many opportunities exist throughout the Pittsburgh and Western PA areas including many corporate and family foundations, as well as state-funded sources.  Planning for grant applications encourages structure and planning for the non-profit organization.  A grant may provide extra money for a special guest artist whose fee may have been out of reach of the budget, special events, and the purchase of equipment and music.  The process also will bring the name of the organization to the attention of the cultural community and establish it as an asset to the Pittsburgh area as well as to its home community.

Where to apply?  The Internet is your best friend in this area, and listed below is just a sampling of some of the large organizations that will grant financial assistance to community organizations. Visit their web sites to get more of an insight on the world of grants.  The keyword "grants" will also give you thousands of possibilities

Allegheny Regional Asset District
Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council (a merger of GPAA & Pro Arts)
Department of Community and Economic Development
The Foundation Center at Carnegie Library* (412) 281-7143
*This is a special department located at the downtown branch and a free resource.  An appointment must be made to work with manager of the department who will guide you through a unique computer program.  The program allows an organization to input the parameters of their search and then presents a selection of foundations for review using your guidelines.  The Foundation Center will help you to save the information to a disk for your own files.

Writing a grant application should be a joint effort!  There may be members of your organization who are whizzes at finances or creative writing.  Ask!  You will be surprised at the resources to be found in your own organization.  Form a small committee to review the grant application, brainstorm ideas, etc.   Get a volunteer to type the application in final form.  The GPAC and some other grant sources may use "e-grant" which is an on-line application process and easy to use.

The benefits of applying for grants far outweigh the effort involved in making the application.  Take a bold step this year and try it.  Your "wish list" could become a "we did it list!"

Combined Calendar (As of September 26 , 2006 for Winter 2006)
For the updates and the entire calendar visit the online calendar

October 2006:

Sat, 7
Edgewood Symphony Orchestra Rodef Shalom Temple, Oakland
Sat, 7
West Hills Symphonic Band
Clinton Community Park
Sun, 15
Delmont Concert Band Ft. Ligonier Days, Ligonier
Sun, 22
North Suburban Symphonic Band
The Greater Pittsburgh Masonic Center
Sun, 22

Delmont Concert Band Arts & Apple Festival, Shields Farm, Delmont
Sat, 28
East Winds Symphonic Band
Rodef Shalom Temple, Oakland
Sat, 28
Allegheny Brass Band Ingomar United Methodist Church, North Hills
Sun, 29
Aeolian Winds of Pittsburgh Sacred Heart Church

November 2006:

Sat, 4
Pittsburgh Civic Orchestra
Upper St Clair High School Theatre
Sun, 5
Aeolian Winds of Pittsburgh Second United Presbyterian Church of Wilkinsburg
Sun, 12

Jeannette Community Band Jeannette American Legion
Sun, 12
Blairsville Community Concert Band
Blairsville High School Performing Arts Center
Sat, 18
Westmoreland Symphonic Winds Cecilian Hall,  Seton Hill University

December  2006:

Sat, 2
East Winds Symphonic Band w/ Murrysville Festival Chorus
Franklin Regional Middle School, Murrysville
Sun, 3
Allegheny Brass Band Christ Church at Grove Farm, Sewickley
Sun, 3
Delmont Concert Band
Faith United Methodist Church, Delmont
Sun, 3
The Musicians Concert Band w/ ACTS Choir
Miller Auditorium, Slippery Rock University
Sun, 3
West Hills Symphonic Band Montour High School
Fri, 8
Delmont Concert Band
Light Up Night, Redstone, North Huntingdon
Sat, 9
Edgewood Symphony Orchestra First Presbyterian Church of Edgewood
Sun, 10
Delmont Concert Band
Faith United Methodist Church, Delmont
Thu, 14
Delmont Concert Band
Redstone, GBG
Sat, 16
Pittsburgh Civic Orchestra Upper St Clair High School Theatre
Sun, 17

Jeannette Community Band Jeannette American Legion
Sun, 17
Community Band South
Bethel Park Community Center
Sun, 17
North Suburban Symphonic Band The Greater Pittsburgh Masonic Center

Contacting Us:

Southwestern Pennsylvania Band Partners is dedicated to helping community music groups in the southwestern Pennsylvania Region. 
Please visit us online at the address below to learn more or become involved.

Regional Bands with websites (for updated list visit the links page)

Aeolian Winds
Allegheny Brass Band
Armstrong Concert Band
Blairsville Community Concert Band
Butler County Symphony
Community Band South
East Winds Symphonic Band
Edgewood Symphony
Harmony-Zelienople Community Band
Harrisville Community Band
Jeannette Community Band
Kiski Valley Community Band
Kittanning Firemen's Band
Musicians Concert Band
North Pittsburgh Philharmonic
North Suburban Symphonic Band
Ohio Valley Community Band
Pine Creek Community Band
Pittsburgh Civic Orchestra
Resurrection Band
Scottdale Concert Band
Somerset County Community Band
Washington Symphonic Orchestra
West Hills Symphonic Band
Westmoreland Symphonic Winds

Contributing to the newsletter
Everyone is welcome to contribute an article to the newsletter.  The topic is up to you—something you think your fellow musicians would be interested in. Just email your article to:

For additions to the website email:

In the next newsletter
In our next newsletter due out in early January you will find:

Sarah McElfresh,  East Winds Symphonic Band
Scott McElfresh, East Winds Symphonic Band
Kathy Wikowski, Allegheny Brass Band,  North Suburban Symphonic Band

September 26, 2006