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Wayne Band shines in church concert

October 14, 2002|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - John Fitz was beaming with pride Sunday afternoon.

Fitz, president of the Wayne Band, a community staple here for more than 100 years, said after the band's performance Sunday afternoon, "This is one of the best concerts we've ever put on."

It was a consensus shared by several band members and some in the audience of more than 130 people who came to Grace Brethren Church for the band's annual fall concert.

Things were different this year. For the first time in its history, the band played an entire concert under the baton of a guest conductor.

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Elaine Braun, director of operations for the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, agreed to lead the band at the request last year of George Oller, a longtime trombone player in the ensemble who died this summer.

Sunday's concert was dedicated to Oller.

Oller was a member of the New Horizons Band, part of the continuing education program at Hagerstown Community College, which Braun directs.

The music Sunday afternoon, chosen by Braun, ranged from stirring Sousa marches, to Lerner and Lowe songs from Broadway's "My Fair Lady" and "South Pacific" to a rip-snorting rendition of Count Basie's "One O'Clock Jump" to Glen Miller's "Pennsylvania 6500."

In between, she led the musicians through the difficult Hungarian Dances Nos. 5 and 6 by Brahms.

The concert proved to be a "patriotic moment" for Bess Farrell, an American missionary working in Mexico City.

"I was not here for Sept. 11. I had no opportunity to go through all that," Farrell said. "To hear John Philip Sousa marches today, to hear an American band play American music helped me to process the events of Sept. 11."

Braun brought the band together for five practices prior to the Sunday concert.

"I was very pleased with them," Braun said. "They could play the Sousa marches without me doing anything. That meant they had a wonderful basis for all the music. All I had to do was crisp it up a little, to make the music sound like the composer intended," she said. "I have my own thoughts on how it should sound."

The three percussionists who performed Sunday- Mike Deihl, Karl Thompson and 15-year-old Tyler Kelley - are regulars in the Shippensburg, Pa., community band. The Wayne Band is temporarily out of percussionists so the Shippensburg musicians filled in, Fitz said.

"She knows her music," Thompson said of Braun. "She works with the musicians and helps them to develop a team approach."

Braun earned her master's degree in music from the University of Western Ontario and taught part time there for 10 years. She was assistant operations manager for the Buffalo (N.Y.) Philharmonic Orchestra.

Braun is a horn player in the Hagerstown Municipal Band, gives private horn lessons and copies music for trumpeter Doc Severinsen.

The Wayne Band's earliest roots date back to the late 1840s, when a group got together to play a concert at a local school.

Several local bands were performing in the 19th century. Some were sponsored by local fire companies. Speculation among veteran members is that the Wayne Band was incorporated in 1899 from remnants of several local bands.

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