by Jon Rineman, Jr.
Atlantic News, Thursday, August 14, 2003
HAMPTON — Winnacunnet Band Director Tony Cyrus and a group of 24 other local musicians have joined forces this summer, creating the area’s first ever Community Band, designed to give musicians from junior high to adulthood the chance to continue playing in front of audiences during the summertime.
Cyrus first thought of organizing the group in June soon after the 2003 senior class graduation.
“Part of it was, in the senior class, there were a lot of dedicated students,” says Cyrus. “And I thought, ‘Some of them are never going to play again.’ So, I thought that with a community band, the chance to keep playing might develop.”
The group has been rehearsing every Monday night for about a month, gearing up for three performances, the next of which will be this Friday night, August 15 from 6-7 p.m. at Marelli Park in Hampton. David Schwab will be doing the ribbon cutting as this is the official opening of the new gazebo.
The group will also perform on Monday, August 18 from 7-8 p.m. at Tuck Field. The Tuck Museum will be open to the public for an hour before the show.
For Cyrus, the band is somewhat of a family affair, as his wife, brother and son are members. Cyrus, who will be starting his fourth year as band director at Winnacunnet, is also encouraging school alumni to come and play.
Given the enthusiasm and progress of the initial formation of the Community Band, Cyrus is hoping to make it an annual summer venture.
Each concert is free, and the band will play everything from marches and Broadway show tunes to old pop songs. Among the selections Mancini, George Gershwin, and a “Music Man” medley.
Cyrus encourages audiences to attend the group’s shows this summer, and also points to the new summer band as a great place for musicians to play and improve on a year-round basis.