Municipal Band begins 86th season


The Hagerstown Municipal Band kicked off its 86th Summer Concert Series with a tribute performance to veterans and the late musician Robert Grab at the Hagerstown City Park band shell Sunday.

The evening got started with a Flag Day ceremony presented by the Elks Lodge of Hagerstown, who explained the history of the U.S. flag. Boy Scouts from Troop 2 of the Mason Dixon Council carried various versions of the flag that predate its current design.

A crowd of nearly 100 people sat on park benches, or on blankets and chairs, listening to the music, which included such selections as: "Washington Post March," "LaForza Del Destino Overture," "Capitol Dixieland Band," "American Portrait," "TM Blues" and "Long May It Wave."

As a tribute to Grab, a Hagerstown Municipal Band member, the band performed the "Black Horse Troop March," said Lynn Lerew, band director.


Grab, who died in March, was president of the Hagerstown Municipal Band and second trumpet with the Maryland Symphony Orchestra.

"He was an outstanding musician and trumpet player par excellence," said Lerew.

Grab was also remembered fondly by Hagerstown Municipal Band manager Richard Keesecker.

"He was a great guy and a tremendous musician," Keesecker said.

Lerew said Grab was partial to the "Black Horse Troop March" and would often select it when a march was needed for a program.

"We miss his presence. He brought an aura of professionalism to any time he performed and conducted himself," Lerew said.

Grab was a gifted musician who "raised the bar" for other performers to play at his level, he said.

The Hagerstown Municipal Band is comprised of primarily amateur student and adult performers.

For Jennifer Carter of Hagerstown, the Hagerstown Municipal Band performance was an opportunity to relax on a blanket while listening to fine performances by area musicians.

"It's great. They play really well and you couldn't ask for a better setting," she said.

The concert featured selections from "The Sound of Music," including the song "Climb Every Mountain."

The band performed several hymns to conclude the concert dedicated to Grab.

"We are mourning his death but celebrating his life," said Lerew.

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