POTSDAM -- The 84-member Potsdam Community Band will perform at 11 Saturday morning, July 10 in the gazebo at Ives Park during the Potsdam Summer Festival.
Under the baton of Potsdam High School band director Theresa Witmer, the performance includes traditional band music, marches, well-known overtures, and popular themes from stage and screen.
The tradition of a community band in Potsdam is a very long one. Most recently, the Potsdam Community Band, led by, among others, Elmer James, was active in the 1970s and early 1980s. But the history goes back into the late 1800s. Records at the Potsdam Museum document the Potsdam Cornet Band, sometimes called the Silver Cornet Band, in the 1880s. That was apparently followed by the Potsdam Military band, which disbanded in 1924 after 25 years of playing. There are also references to the Potsdam Fireman's Band and to the Potsdam Band in the early 1900s. Newspaper archives indicate a continued musical presence in the community through the end of World War II.
This spring, a small group of organizers decided to see if there was sufficient community interest in bringing back the band, with membership open to all adults who play traditional wind band instruments: woodwinds, brass and percussion. High-school-aged musicians with a recommendation from their school music teachers were also invited.
The response from the community has been very exciting, said Witmr, with an outstanding group of musicians gathering for four rehearsals in June and early July. Members range from Crane professors to relative beginners and from university and public school teachers to those who had to dust off their instruments after many years.
The community is invited to share in this “Concert in the Park” this Saturday at 11 a.m.