Arts & Entertainment

Westfield Community Band to Begin 2013 Season with Concert of American Greats

Conductor Dr. Thomas Connors Credits: Westfield Community Band

WESTFIELD, NJ — The Westfield Community Band is getting ready to start season number 101 with its annual spring concert on Sunday, April 28, at 2 p.m. at Edison Intermediate School.

Under the direction of conductor Dr. Thomas Connors, the band will perform selections by great American composers, including An American in Paris by George Gershwin, An Outdoor Overture by Aaron Copland and the Robert Russell Bennett arrangement of Overture from South Pacific by Richard Rogers.

Other selections will include “Mountain Song” by contemporary composer Philip Sparke, Symphonic Songs for Band by Robert Russell Bennett and Michael Glinka’s Overture from Russlan and Ludmila.

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It’s no coincidence that works by Bennett (1894-1981) appear twice in the program.

“Bennett was the most sought after orchestrator and arranger throughout much of the century and was known as the Dean of American arrangers,” said Connors. “It was Bennett who created the musical theatre sound that has become synonymous with the golden era of the American musical theatre.  His list of shows includes Show Boat, Kiss Me Kate, Oklahoma!, The King and I, My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music and many others. During his career he worked with all of the great composers of Broadway, including Jerome Kern, The Gershwins (George and Ira), Cole Porter, Richard Rogers and Oscar Hamerstein, to name just a few.”

On May 26, the band will perform a special outdoor Memorial Eve Concert at the Fanwood Train Station Park and will appear in the Westfield and Scotch Plains Memorial Day parades.

“The band is very excited about the opportunity to once again be invited to take part in the Fanwood Memorial Day service,” said Connors. “This, of course, will be a program with a lot of patriotic music. Last year the band members found the program to be very moving. We are looking forward to being part of this important event once again this year.”

Later in the summer, on June 27 and July 4, 11 and 18, the band will perform in Mindowaskin Park for its annual outdoor summer concert series. Expect to hear novelty pieces, marches and music from mainstream mediums from Broadway to Hollywood.

“Our Independence Day concert will take place on July 4 and will be shared with the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution,” noted Connors.

The band will conclude its 2013 performance calendar in December with the 23rd Annual Holiday Concert at Edison School.

The Westfield Community Band rehearses each Wednesday evening from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in the community room in the Westfield Municipal Building, 425 East Broad Street. Experienced area musicians interested in joining should contact Band President Barry Rosenberg at 908-337-9073 or email

All concerts are free and open to the public. The band is sponsored in part by the Westfield Recreation Department and other local and corporate supporters.

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