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Sun., Oct. 4
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Potsdam Community Band performing Friday in Ives park


POTSDAM - For the fourth year in row, the Potsdam Community Band will play a concert in Ives Park as part of Potsdam SummerFest. The performance is at 6:30 p.m. Friday, includes music for all ages, and lasts just over one hour.

The concert opens with Henry Fillmore’s famous march, The Klaxon. Composed in 1929 and subtitled March of the Automobiles, The Klaxon was written for the Cincinnati Automobile Show. Fillmore invented a new instrument for the occasion called a Klaxophone. It consisted of twelve automobile horns, mounted on a table and powered by an automobile battery!

Moving westward, David Holsinger’s Prairie Dances portrays the hustle and bustle of a Texas cowboy town in those railroad days where the ‘rambunctiousness’ of the cowhand came face to face with the businesslike demeanor of the mercantile owners and the frontier gentility of the Ladies Society.

Satchmo was a nickname for the great trumpeter and singer Louis Armstrong, and it’s the title of PCB’s next piece on the program. Arranger Ricketts has combined several best-loved Armstrong songs, beginning with “It’s a Wonderful World” and moving into a spirited rendition by the trombones of “When the Saints Go Marchin’ In.” The old blues standard, St. Louis Blues, is next and features a Dixieland group within PCB: Scott Fulton on clarinet, Paul Buell on cornet, Gavin MacKellar on trombone, and Ian MacKellar on tuba. Satchmo! finishes with the theme from “Hello, Dolly,” Armstrong’s Grammy Award-winning1964 hit.

Candlewood Capers, by world-renowned Potsdam composer Arthur Frackenpohl, is a light, fun change of pace for the Band and the audience. Professor Emeritus at the Crane School of Music, Dr. Frackenpohl has over 400 instrumental and vocal compositions to his credit.

Espaņa Caņi presents a well-known bit of music in its first 8 bars, with a fragment that is heard not only in Spanish bullfights but that has been used in the US to fire up baseball crowds. As a famous “pasodoble,” Espaņa Caņi is popular among ballroom dancers and figure skaters.

Itaru Sakai was still in high school when he composed his first work for band, The Seventh Night of July. In Japan, July the seventh is known as “Tanabata”. Festivals are held throughout Japan to celebrate the reunion of Orihime (the star Altair) and Hikoboshi (the star Vega) in the night sky.

Music from the beloved 1964 movie Mary Poppins includes “A Spoonful of Sugar,” “Chim Chim Cher-ee,” “Stay Awake,” and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” The Sherman brothers’ music has been arranged by Alfred Reed, himself the composer of numerous superb works for Wind Band.

Turning to a piece of original music, PCB will next perform three movements of Jan Van der Roost’s composition, Pustza. The Puszta is the a vast prairie in Hungary, where gypsies often roam with their wild horses. The alternation of ‘temperamental’ and ‘melancholic’ themes and moods is typical for the gipsy music as are the many tempo changes. The instrumentation is very bright and colorful, bringing all sections of the symphonic wind band to the fore.

Video Games Live – Part I, arranged for Band by Ralph Ford, contains music from several games. PCB will perform the first movement, the Halo Theme, composed by Marty O’Donnell, an American composer known for his work on musical pieces for video games such as the Myth series, Oni, and the Halo trilogy.

To finish the concert, Potsdam Community Band will perform one of John Philip Sousa’s later marches, The Gallant Seventh, which features the trumpet section. Sousa wrote this march for the 7th Regiment, 107th Infantry, of the New York National Guard. Its conductor, Major Francis Sutherland, had been a cornetist in Sousa’s band before joining the Army during the First World War. The march was premiered by members of the 7th Regiment’s band and of Sousa’s band at the NY Hippodrome in November 1922. Written during the last decade of Sousa’s career, it is considered one of his best.

Potsdam Community Band, directed by Theresa Witmer, is open to all those who play a band instrument. The group plays two to three concerts each year; the next concert will be in January. Anyone interested in playing with the band can visit the website,, or contact PCB’s Personnel Manager Ron Berry, at 265-2883.

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