There was a time when almost every village and hamlet had a town band – concerts in the park, people of all ages playing their instruments, families of two and three generations playing in the band together ----
In Morris Plains, the town band was led by the village blacksmith – a man named Larry Monahan who taught free music lessons to the kids in town, and when they were ready, formed them into a band that he led continuously for fifty-three years. On his death in 1940, the members of the band renamed it the L. Monahan Memorial Band and kept it going for another 13 years until it finally disbanded in 1953.
Well in Morris Plains, the sounds of clarinets and trumpets…trombones and cymbals; drums and saxophones are coming back. Walk by the Borough School on a Wednesday evening, and through the open windows you’ll hear the sounds of a Sousa March, Broadway tunes, traditional American songs, TV themes…played by members of the Morris Plains Community Band…musicians from twelve to eighty; all having fun playing music together.
Designed to be a no-pressure opportunity for musicians of all levels and all ages, the music is easy (about junior high level), there is no cost, and just as important, no commitment or obligation. People are welcome to participate on any basis that they enjoy and fits their lifestyle. The player who joins us once a year is just as welcome as the musician that attends every week.
There will be concerts; mostly for people that don’t get an opportunity to hear live music very often – nursing homes, senior citizen groups, etc. And again, participation in the concerts is just as optional as the rehearsals.
The Morris Plains Community Band is conducted by Larry Ripley, a retired musician and bandleader who is the third member of his family to lead a town band.
To learn more about the Morris Plains Community Band, contact Larry at 973-984-2505 or firstname.lastname@example.org Or just get that horn out of the closet and stop in at the Morris Plains Borough School Band Room some Wednesday evening from 7:00 to 9:00. Enter the school’s rear parking lot from Mountain Way and follow the signs (and the sounds), and come join the band!