The Highlands County Concert Band offered a program of holiday music Monday, Dec. 9 when it performed “Wishing you a Merry Christmas” to a near-capacity crowd at First Presbyterian Church of Lake Placid.
The concert band, now in its 37th year, is directed by Vic Anderson. Associate director is Bob Williams. Band members are from across Highlands and surrounding counties. Most have been making music for decades while others are student musicians. The youngest is 15 years old; the elder members of the Concert Band are near 90.
The band performed 16 songs, including “Hallelujah, It’s Christmas,” “Gloria Patri,” Light Up The World,” “I Wonder As I Wander,” Jingle Bells On Parade,” “Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desiring,” “A Fireside Christmas” and “Greensleeves,” featuring Chris Noel on flute and Karen Scott on keyboard. Also included were songs “I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day,” “Hallelujah,” Little Drummer Boy,” A Holly Jolly Christmas,” and a patriotic twist on “Stars and Stripes for Christmas.” An audience singalong was next, followed by the Concert Band’s renditions of “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and “Sleigh Ride.”
Each of the selections was introduced by announcer Becky McIntyre who offered a little history and background of the songs.
Four high school students who make time to practice with and perform with the Highlands County Concert Band were recognized during the show. From Lake Placid High School are Morgan Keck, Helen Moretto and Shelly Villamor, all playing flute. Ricci Venslavicius represents Sebring High School in the trombone section.
Highlands County Concert Band musicians include: Lorna Hodgdon, Debby Justice, Morgan Keck, Helen Moretti, Chris Noel, Jan Schalliol, Shelly Villamor and Jim Wells. On clarinet were Roberta Flowers, Lori Jingst, Lynne Josselyn, Don Messenger, Tom Mitchell, Melinda Moretto and Janet Tyre. On alto sax were Bob Bryant, Gary Scott and Bill Varner. John Thorp was featured on tenor sax, and Karen Scott played baritone.
Playing trumpet/cornets were Henry Grasley, George Hall, Joanne Hodges, Whitney Mullins, Dolores Smith and Bob Williams. Michael Noel and Linn Reisetter played French horns and Andy Davis and Stuart Dubbs were on tubas. Trombones were played by Tim Bennett, Joseph Chapman, John Mason, Ralph Sylvester and Ricci Venslavicious. Playing string bass was Tom Gildea. The percussion section included Tom Digrazia, Ted Huff, Sophy Mae Mitchell and Barbara Varner.
Greeters for the evening were Barbara Anderson, Shelia Bennett, Ruth Ann Bonkink, Patsy Grasley, Terry Williams and Darrel Jingst.
The Highlands County Concert Band will present three more performances this season, all of them in the Theatre For Performing Arts on the Avon Park campus of South Florida State College. Show times are 7:30 p.m.
The Skylarks will be featured in pre-concert entrainment on Thursday, Jan. 2; Ralph’s Dixie Cups will open a Thursday, Feb. 20 performance; and Jack’s German Band will be featured prior to a Thursday, March 27 show.
Experienced musicians of any age or encouraged to join the Highlands County Concert Band. The group holds rehearsals from 7 to 9 p.m. Mondays at the Highlands Social Center at 3400 Sebring Parkway.
For more information contact conductor Anderson at 863-402-0890 or Highlands County Concert Band president Joanne Hodges at 616-402-6231.