In Concert:
Community Music Groups Working Together

A Newsletter of Southwestern Pennsylvania Band Partners

Fall 2009
Volume 5 Issue 4
Printable Version in PDF Format

Inside This Issue: 
Single Composer Band FestivalsBand Directory Additions |Announcers, Programs and Program Notes |
 Music Corner | Combined Concert CalendarAnnouncements | Band Web sites | Contact US

Single Composer Band Festivals

There are various types of band festivals held throughout the country each year.  Many are like our regions own Three Rivers Community Band Festival that features regional bands in a large joint concert type format.  While these vary in many ways including the number of bands and length of programs, location, and type of music; there are some festival devoted entirely to the music of a single composer.

Percy Grainger Festival
The Percy Grainger Festival held annually in Chicago, Illinois.  For 2010, the festival will take place April 15-18.  Four bands will perform 30-40 minute programs of entirely the music of Percy Grainger in Chicago’s Orchestra Hall.  All bands also participate in a clinic with Col. Dennis Layendecker. Bands are selected through an application process.  For the bands it is a musical and travel experience with sight-seeing of Chicago built into their itinerary. 
For more information see:
National Community Concert Band Sousa Festival
2010 will mark the 3rd year of this particular Sousa Festival held in Washington D.C. area  June 18-20. Six bands will perform  their Sousa inspired programs at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center at Northern Virginia Community College in Alexandria Virginia.  Under the direction of Col. Arnald D. Gabriel , the members of all participating bands will form a massed band which will perform at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.C. as part of ceremonies commemorating the 65th anniversary of the end of WWII. 
 For more information see:
RB Hall Day 
The last Saturday in June has been designated RB Hall Day in Maine. Robert Brown Hall was a famous Maine composer born June 30, 1858.  He composed 62 marches.  Each year bands from around Maine gather the last weekend in June to celebrate the music of RB Hall.  There is a massed band every year where musicians are invited to come and play an hour of RB Hall marches.  The concerts change location based on the hosting band.  In 2010 it will be held in Rockland, ME.  So this is more an event for individuals from our area to go and listen to the music and play in the massed band.
For more information see: and
Sousa National Community Band
Organized by the John Philip Sousa Foundation, 2009 saw the first Sousa National Community Band where individual musicians from around the country traveled to New Orleans to play a concert in the style of Sousa under the baton of Col. John R. Bourgeois.  In 2010, the event will take place in Las Vegas, Nevada July 9-11 again under the baton of Col. Bourgeois.
For information see:  under Projects  or send an email to

Southwestern PA Community Bands (As of June 29, 2009)

Below are some recent updates to the directory.  If you are aware of community bands in the region that are not yet in the online directory please let them know about us. We currently have 25 groups listed in our directory from the Southwestern Pennsylvania region.

South Hills Community Concert Band
Janet Branch
George A Shuff, Manager

Please check the listing of your group in the online directory to see if it is correct and let us know so we can put a “Verified on” date. 

Announcers, Programs, and Program Notes

By Sarah McElfresh

Announcers and programs are a way to connect your band and performance to your audience.  There are many different styles of both, and there is no “right” way for any given group.  Overtime your approach for announcing and programs may change as your band and audiences change.  Here we look at some of the benefits of having an announcer and programs and resources for making them more effective.

The announcer is the voice of the band whose job is to convey information to the audience.  The information is usually about the band, music selections and upcoming concerts.  This person is one of the public faces of the ensemble.  There are as many different styles of announcer as there are announcers.  Some basic generalizations are presented below.

Not one of these approaches is better than another, your announcer has to fit your group and the groups personality.  It also has to fit the personality of the announcer.  The ideal announcer is one that does not mind speaking into a microphone to address the audience and above all - they should also want the job.  A person who is thrust into the role of announcer simply because no one else stepped forward may not relish the role of public speaker and may or may not be a good choice.  Some conductors become announcers by default.  It works well in some instances and not in others, after all your conductor was hired for their musical ability to lead the group and not necessarily for their public speaking.  Regardless of who is your announcer, you want them to be able to speak clearly, have good stage presence, and be able to connect with your audiences.  Even the minimalist announcer needs to be able to connect with the audience so they are ready to listen when the next piece is announced.

To have or not to have programs?  A question many bands ask themselves at various points.  What is the purpose of a program? How much does it cost?  Who will make it? Who will distribute it?  What goes in a program? All are good questions to ask before embarking on having programs.

The purpose of the program is to convey information to the audience and to be something they can take away with them to remind them of the concert experience.  The program can take the place of the announcer or work in conjunction with the announcer.  Like announcers, programs can come in various forms and should reflect the band.

There are various styles of programs and variations with in each style.
Each of these carry differing levels of cost.  A single page printed on one side is the cheapest in terms of photocopying and perhaps the easiest to create with any word processing software.  Single sheet or double sided single sheets are ones any member could probably copy themselves at any copying store.  Adding folding or stapling increases cost and difficulty.  With a computer the folded program has become much easier than in the past.  Many word processing applications have a “program” or “1/2 page folded brochure” template that will work nicely.  For Microsoft applications, visit their website and download one of many program templates (  You can also create your own program without a template, but it might increase the frustration factor depending on the process.  For copying and assembly of folded (and stapled) programs it is probably best to hand this off to the professionals in the copy center of an office supply store or a print shop.  The way to know what program style is best for you, will involve what information you want to convey and how much space is needed and then comparing that with the cost it will take to produce the program.

Other things to consider include type and color of paper, and if it will be in black and white or color print.  Programs can be as simple as basic copy paper in black and white or elaborate as in color and on various combinations of cardstock and regular paper with color ink.  The more elaborate, the higher the cost, sometimes just printing on colored paper can add enough of a flair to the program.  Do what works for you and your budget.

So what information goes into a program?  As you have probably guessed, this varies, below is a list of possibilities.  Any combination may make a great program for a group.  The list below contains items found in programs from various bands.
Other things to consider is who will make the program and who will distribute the program?  You may have a graphic designer in the band or someone who is a computer whiz who is willing to embark on creating a program or someone in charge of publicity or promoting the band may be the person.  Make sure whoever is making your program understands the desires in terms of content and image to be portrayed.  It is probably a good idea to have a sense as to how your program will be distributed before you spend the time on money on the creation.  The last thing you want to do is spend the money on the program and have them sit in a box because no one passed them out.  Often a groupie (family or friends of members who are at every concert) may be more then willing to help out and pass out programs.  In some venues a table or music stand holding the programs is sufficient and the audience will pick them up as they enter.

Program notes
So you’ve decided to have programs or have an educational or entertaining announcer, where do you get some of the information for program notes?  Most conductor’s scores contain some information about the selection that can be used for program notes to the audience including inspiration or history of the piece.  Individual composers web sites may contain additional information or program notes that they have written for compositions.  Additionally, there are resources available online that contain collections of program notes that are either presented as a compilation, or individual bands have made their program notes available via their web sites.  Some examples are listed below.  Remember, It is important to cite your sources.

Silver Clef Music Program Notes Repository
    Has compiled program notes from various people over the years and has them classified as being good for narration or for print.  You can also add your own program notes here for the benefit of others.  There is an alphabetical list of common band arrangements.  The author of the notes is indicated in most cases.

Music Program Notes for Band and Wind Ensemble Music
    A collection of program notes Foothill College Symphonic Wind Ensemble. It is arranged by composer

The Concord Band Program Notes
    The Concord Band from Concord, MA has it’s program notes available on their web site arranged alphabetically by piece.  There is also a by composer listing with notes available on some composers.  The author or source of the note is indicated.

Oklahoma City University Program Note Resource for Band Directors
    The Oklahoma City University Program Note Resource for Band Directors is a database that was created by Dr. Matthew Mailman, Director of Bands at Oklahoma City University.  According to the website either Dr. Mailman or  his students in his conducting seminar wrote the notes. The database  can be searched by title or composer.

Perhaps the most important thing with programs is that they are easy to read, free of typos and neatly done.  The printed program goes with the audience member after the last note has been played, and allows them to bring your band home with them.  The image you convey with the printed program should be the same image you want to convey with your music.

Music Corner
This section is intended to be a place for conductors and musicians to share information on new music they are playing.  If you have something to contribute please email us the information at with “New Music Corner” in the subject line. Please include the title, composer/arranger, publisher and a brief description of the piece. 

Classic Duke

Composer: Duke Ellington
Arranger: Luther Henderson
Adapted for band: Paul Murtha
Published: 2008
Grade: 4
Performance time: ~6 min
Publisher: Canadian Brass / Hal Leonard (HL 08724054)

By Sarah McElfresh

This is a new arrangement of songs that Duke Ellington made famous.  The compilation includes Cotton Tail, Sophisticated Lady and It Don’t Mean a Thing (If it Ain’t Got That Swing)
According to Hal Leonard’s product description web page, it was originally arranged by Luther Henderson for full orchestra with brass quintet.  This arrangement was adapted for band by Paul Murtha.

This piece is a lot of fun to play and captures the excitement of the original songs.  The trombones start off with the melody in Cotton Tail and then pass it on to the trumpets and the rest of the brass section who then return it to the trombones.  The trumpets take over the melody line in Sophisticated Lady before passing it over to the woodwinds with a saxophone feature.  The piece ends with the high energy of It Don’t Mean a Thing if Ain’t Got That Swing.

Personally I am partial to this style of music and always enjoy playing it.  This is a little more challenging than some arrangements as the grade level indicates, but it can add excitement to the rehearsal and performance.  As a new arrangement, you can be certain that your members have not played it “over and over” again as they may have with other arrangements of big band or swing music.

Combined Calendar (As of September 24, 2009 for Summer 2009)
For the updates and the entire calendar visit the online calendar
October 2009:
Sun, 4 2pm Armstrong Concert Band Smicksburg Fall Festival, Eating House
Thu, 8 Aeolian Winds of Pittsburgh The Art of Wine & Food to benefit HEARTH at The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh
Sat, 10 7:30pm Butler County Symphony Orchestra Butler Area Intermediate High School Auditorium
Sat, 10 8pm Washington Symphony Orchestra Trinity High School, Washington
Sat, 17 7:30pm Pittsburgh Civic Orchestra Upper St. Clair High School Theatre
Sat, 17 7:30pm Edgewood Symphony Orchestra Agnes and Joseph Katz Performing Arts Center Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh
Thu, 22 7pm Delmont Concert Band Concordia
Sat, 24 7pm The Pittsburgh Philharmonic North Hills Junior High School
Fri, 30 8pm The Pittsburgh Philharmonic Butler County Community College Succop Theater

November 2009:
Sat, 7 2pm Armstrong Concert Band Smicksburg Country Christmas, Vineyard Winery
Sat, 7 7:30pm Butler County Symphony Orchestra Butler Area Intermediate High School Auditorium
Sun, 8 2:30pm East Winds Symphonic Band Rodef Shalom, Shadyside
Sun, 8 7pm Jeannette Community Band Jeannette American Legion
Wed, 11 7pm Blairsville Community Concert Band Blairsville High School
Sat, 21 8pm Westmoreland Symphonic Winds Seton Hill University's new Performing Arts Center
Sun, 29 2pm Armstrong Concert Band West Kittanning Firehall

December 2009:
Fri, 4 7pm Delmont Concert Band Redstone Highlands, North Huntingdon
Fri, 4 7pm Kiski Valley Community Band Natrona Heights Presbyterian Church, Harrison
Sat, 5 7:30pm Butler County Symphony Orchestra Butler Area Intermediate High School Auditorium
Sat, 5 8pm Washington Symphony Orchestra Trinity High School, Washington
Sun, 6 4pm The Musicians Concert Band Slippery Rock University's Miller Auditorium
Sun, 6 6pm Delmont Concert Band Faith United Methodist Church, Delmont
Thu, 10 7pm Delmont Concert Band Redstone Highlands, Greensburg
Fri, 11 7pm The Pittsburgh Philharmonic Butler County Community College Succop Theater
Sat, 12 7:30pm Edgewood Symphony Orchestra First Presbyterian Church of Edgewood
Sat, 12 8pm The Pittsburgh Philharmonic North Hills Junior High School
Sun, 13 3pm Community Band South Bethel Park Community Center, Bethel Park
Sun, 13 6pm Delmont Concert Band Faith United Methodist Church, Delmont
Sat, 19 7:30pm Pittsburgh Civic Orchestra Upper St. Clair High School Theatre
Sun, 20 7pm Jeannette Community Band Jeannette American Legion


Association of Concert Bands

The Association of Concert Bands (ACB) is a national organization dedicated to encouraging and fostering adult community, municipal and civic bands and musicians.  Membership has its privileges, with different levels of membership—individual ($30/yr), family ($45/yr), life ($1000), organizational ($50/yr or $275/yr), and corporate ($150/yr).  The more expensive type of organizational memberships comes with the BMI/ASCAP Blanket licensing agreement that keeps community bands legal with performance fees.  All types of memberships come with a subscription to the Journal, voting privileges, and participation in the annual convention and convention band.  The Journal is published three times a year, and includes articles about community bands from across the country; festivals, concerts, band camps, reviews of music and CDs and other topics that would be of interest to a community band musician.  For more information, visit the web site or contact Sarah McElfresh, Regional Membership Coordinator for Pennsylvania at sarahmcelfresh (at)

Are you interested in an Unwanted Music Swap??

The idea has been presented by the president of one of the bands that we have a music swap.  A place to trade original full scores of music that are just taking up space in your music library.  Swap those pieces you will never play for one reason or another for something else.  Perhaps it is too easy or hard for your group—might be just right for another.       Perhaps it is a piece that your band has overplayed—it may be brand new to another.  Perhaps you just need to thin out your library.  There are many more reasons why you may no longer need or want that piece of music, and it may be a gem for some other group.

If you are interested in participating in such an event, please contact Sarah McElfresh at sarahmcelfresh (at)
Date and location will be set and announced after the schedules of those most interested have been worked out.

TRCBF LOGOThe 7th Three Rivers Community Band Festival will be held on Saturday May 1, 2010 at Upper St. Clair High School Theatre

The Organizing Committee is now accepting applications from bands who wish to perform.
To apply, a band should submit an application form and an audio sample of the band.   
Applications should be received by November 6, 2009  for consideration.
 More information can be found on the Festivals web site.  click on “Apply to Perform

fblogoThree Rivers Community Band Festival

Festival Band Registration open for 2010 Festival

The 7th Three Rivers Community Band Festival will be held on Saturday May 1, 2010 at Upper St. Clair High School Theatre


There will again be a “Festival Band” which will allow a larger number of area musicians to participate in the festival.  The band will rehearse on the morning of the festival with guest  conductor, Denis Colwell and then perform selected pieces during the afternoon concert.  Applications should be received by February 15, 2010.

For more information and application materials, please visit: and click on “Festival Band


Sousa National Community Band

July 9-11, 2010, Las Vegas NV

Organized by the John Philip Sousa Foundation, the Sousa National Community Band is comprised of individual musicians from around the country who travel to a given location to  play a concert in the style of Sousa under the baton of Col. John R. Bourgeois. 

For information see:  under Projects       or             send an email to 

General Announcements

We now have an announcements page for those items that come in between the monthly email postings to the mailing list.  Check out it out!

Don’t forget to sign up for the monthly email. 
Tell your friends so they don’t miss upcoming concerts.
To be on our mailing list send email to with the subject subscribe

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 web sites (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
Lawrence County Community Band
Metropolitan Symphonic Band
Musicians Concert Band
Pittsburgh Philharmonic
North Suburban Symphonic Band
Ohio Valley Community Band
Penn Trafford Community Band
Pine Creek Community Band
Pittsburgh Civic Orchestra
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. We are always looking for contributions to the "New Music Corner." Just email your article to:

For additions to the web site email:

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

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

September 29, 2009