Band pays musical debt

Boosters thank community for support

Boosters thank community for support

June 28, 2005|by BRIAN SHAPPELL


Byron Memorial Park was alive with the sound of music and the smell of cooking hot dogs Monday as the Springfield Middle School Band Boosters held their first community celebration.

In what band boosters called a thank you to community supporters and a tribute to two music teachers at the school, the group held a celebration headlined by the Springfield Middle School Cool Cat Jazz Band.

Randy Leatherman, chair of the band boosters, said the event was designed to give back to people who have given so much to the middle school's music program.


"We're constantly sticking our hand out saying 'please support the band, please support the band,'" Leatherman said. "We just wanted people to come out and enjoy the evening."

Garman Bowers Jr., who was with the middle school for 25 years as band director and instrumental music teacher, said he was humbled by the amount of financial support the community has given over the years. He said contributions have allowed for the purchase of uniforms, instruments and a band trailer.

There were 23 performers - 15 students in middle school and eight band alumni - on the makeshift stage at the park's pavilion, said Carmen Gagnon, vice president of the band boosters.

Bowers and retired assistant instrumental music teacher Robert Green joined in to play with the students on some of the songs, which Bowers called a rarity.

"It's kind of exciting. It brings back those feelings when I was playing with groups as a kid," said Bowers, who is moving to teach at the Conococheague and Maugansville elementary schools. "It's nice to share that excitement."

Halfway resident George Mongan said he brought his grandson, Jacob Ramsey, back from vacation in Ocean City, Md., for one night so he could play with the ensemble.

"We like to support the band anyway we can," Mongan said. "What's $25 or $30 worth of gas?"

Faye Breeden echoed the sentiments of many in the audience saying that Bowers has helped many students in the music program. Breeden said his instruction made her grandson, Branden Breeden of Williamsport, not only a better player, but a more outgoing and organized person.

"He was always shy, and Mr. Bowers helped him excel," Breeden said.

Williamsport High School students Brittney Dean and Stephanie Toone said they came back to play with the band Monday because they believed Bowers' instruction prepared them to be better musicians at the high school level.

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