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Free Concert: Citizens’ Band Concert

posted Apr 29, 2016, 2:33 AM by Russell D. Hampton
Citizen's Band Members with their Instruments
First English Lutheran Church presents “Our Town Band:  A Historical Tradition” performed by the Citizen’s Band of Punxsutawney. This upbeat performance is being held Sunday, May 22nd at 3:00 pm in the church located at 104 North Gilpin Street (corner of Pine Street and North Gilpin Street), Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. 

The Citizen’s Band will perform a variety of tunes that showcase the full breadth of historical venues when bands were an integral part of life in the community.  The program will offer an array of melodies familiar to many of us with brief explanations as prefaces to the songs.  Their website is http://punxypa.com/Band/ .

The Citizens Band of Punxsutawney aspires to be a bridge between today and the services a band of today can provide and the tradition of community bands spanning back to the early parts of the 19th Century.  In the early days of America, the wind band was a fundamental part of community life.

A hundred years ago and more was a world where there was no radio, UTube or any such recordings. When there was a desire for music, one had to obtain it from an original source such as piano, singers, string players or bands. Every town or burgh had at least one band that represented the community. Even small communities such as Walston, Rossiter, and Marchand had their own bands. The community band was a prominent presence in the community and its activities were of interest to the local population and duly reported in the newspaper. Community pride was involved and members of the public were willing monetary contributors.

The community bands of 19th and early 20th centuries existed before there were music programs in the schools. A few select individuals who had musical abilities and an entrepreneurial spirit would start these bands. One such individual was Enrico Colonna. He started bands in Walston, Brandy Camp, Rossiter, Clymer and Heilwood. He would travel from community to community, providing lessons and band rehearsals for band members that were typically adults. This was the grandfather of Jim Colonna who was a long-time band director in Punxsutawney.

This First English Lutheran Church presentation is the last in the 2015-2016 concert series brought free to the community for musical enjoyment of all.  Reception and light refreshment will be offered in the social hall after the performance.  Donations will be accepted, if offered, to defray costs of the church’s annual free concert series.  The church does plan one fundraising ‘Peaches ‘n Cream Festival’ that will be held in late summer featuring fresh-picked peaches.  

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