By Lisa Tetrault-Zhe
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
Daniel Singer, director of the Greater Hampton Community Band.
HAMPTON — Looking for a free night on the town that includes free music and fresh air?
The Greater Hampton Community Band is for you.
This summer, in its 12th season, the group will perform four free outdoor concerts — Hampton Falls on July 28th; North Hampton on August 4th; Winnacunnet High School on August 8th and August 11th at the Seashell Stage at Hampton Beach.
"I just love the fact that we come together as a group," said director Daniel Singer. "We all love music, and we're able to share that with people."
This is Singer's second season as director of the group. Prior to that, they were under the direction of Winnacunnet High School band teacher Tony Cyrus.
"I feel proud to see my Winnacunnet Band students continuing to enjoy playing their instruments years after graduating," Cyrus said in an e-mail. "I love seeing families playing together — parents with children, siblings of varied ages who otherwise would not get to play together. Seeing older members of the group being made to feel welcome by the younger students and creating a multi-generational band working well together and learning from each other."
There are 35 members in the group, and they'll start rehearsing on June 16. Singer said he'd love for a few more to join.
"I'd say 50 would be the ideal size," Singer, who's also the band instructor at North Hampton School, explained. "We're especially in need of the low brass instruments, such as trombone, tuba, clarinet and flute. Anyone can join, but those are a few we are in particular need of."
Band members range in age from high school right up to 80-something year-olds. Cyrus frequently recruits his WHS band members to participate. There are eight members who have participated every year since the group's inception in 2002: Chris Antlitz, Stephanie Antlitz, Blake Brown, Corinne Brown, Chris Larivee, Mary Oliver, Richard Ridolfo, and Laurel Weatherby.
According to Singer, a lot of families attend their shows.
"The concerts are free and we play for about an hour," Singer said. "People love to come out and enjoy the music. A lot of them pack picnic baskets and sit on the lawn. Most of our locations have a beautiful town green and a bandstand."
In addition to the four outdoor shows — Hampton Falls bandstand, Hampton bandstand, North Hampton bandstand, and Seashell Stage at Hampton Beach — they also do one show indoors at WHS.
Singer said the indoors show is the only definite. For the others, they have to keep an eye on the weather to determine if they need to cancel.
"Our biggest challenge is logistics," Singer said. "We have to get everything over there for the concert — equipment, chairs, and stands. Then we have to set it all up."
Cyrus loans the band space to hold their equipment, which is helpful.
As for the pieces they perform, Singer said they have several crowd favorites, including "Syncopated Clock" and "Stars and Stripes Forever."