Pioneer Valley Community Band Festival
Gettell Amphitheater Mount Holyoke College (50 College St, South Hadley MA)
Massive Community Band Concert Scheduled for Saturday June 17 at Mount Holyoke College Amphitheater
As many as 150 musicians from throughout Western Massachusetts and beyond will come together for an outdoor performance in one giant concert band on Saturday June 17 at 3:00 PM at the Mount Holyoke College Amphitheater in South Hadley. The concert is free and open to the public to attend. In the event of inclement weather, the rain date is Sunday June 18.
Titled Pioneer Valley Community Band Festival, the concert is being hosted by the Amherst, Florence and South Hadley Community Bands and will bring together amateur and professional musicians of all ages and abilities from throughout the region to celebrate and perform live instrumental music. According to Festival Coordinator Ira Brezinsky, “We have a goal of 150 musicians performing together. We’ll see if we get there! With the inspiration of our guest conductor and guest soloist, band members will have the opportunity to share their musical skills, learn from their fellow musicians, and bring the joy of live music making to our audience.”
As of May 30, approximately 120 musicians are already registered to participate. Additional musicians of all abilities who would like to participate can email email@example.com.
Thomas Bergeron, Director of Music at Deerfield Academy, will lead the festival band in a day of joyous music-making. Before coming to Deerfield, Mr. Bergeron held teaching positions at Williams College, Tufts University, Bennington College, Yale, Amherst College, and the Brimmer and May School. He is currently a member of the Atlantic Brass Quintet and the Principal Trumpet of the Springfield Symphony. Mr. Bergeron has performed with The American Symphony, The Temptations, T-Pain, Vampire Weekend, Idina Menzel, The Four Tops, Judy Collins, Arlo Guthrie, and numerous Broadway shows. His television appearances include Saturday Night Live, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and CBS This Morning. He spent two years in residence at Carnegie Hall with Juilliard’s Ensemble Connect and holds two advanced degrees from Yale, where he won the Woolsey Hall Concerto Competition and received the John Swallow Award for excellence in brass playing.
Bergeron commented, “It's really exciting to have so many people of all ages gathering to experience the joy of making music together. We've programmed a wide variety of music, from Sousa to Duke Ellington, Billie Eilish and Ray Charles. Personal highlights for me include music from Captain Marvel by the Emmy-nominated Turkish-American composer Pinar Toprak, and an original piece for concert band "Across A Golden Sky'' by American composer Quinn Mason, who was recently featured on the Springfield Symphony Orchestra concert in February.”
Saxophonist Ronald Smith, will be the featured guest soloist. A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Mr. Smith is the Director of Music Programs at the Northfield Mount Hermon School. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Music from Tennessee State University, along with degrees in Music Production & Engineering Studies from Berklee College of Music and Ethnomusicology Studies from Dartmouth College He was a semifinalist for Grammy Award Teacher of the Year and a John Pflug Teaching Fellow. Smith, who lives in Northampton, has performed with such artists as Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Brown, Billy Taylor, Nat Adderley, Wynton Marsalis, B.B. King, Paul Winter, Samirah Evans, and Evelyn Harris to name a few.
Priscilla Ross, director of the Florence Community Band, stated, “Our band members always enjoy playing under the baton of other conductors. And many of us remember when Tom (Bergeron) was up and coming, playing with us! So it will be a joy to reunite under his leadership.”
The free concert is made possible thanks to grants from the South Hadley and Amherst Cultural Councils, a Festivals Grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and a sponsorship by the South Hadley Electric Light Department (SHELD/Fiberspring).