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Kight to return as conductor, soloist for Williamsport Community Band

May 14, 2008|By MARLO BARNHART

WILLIAMSPORT - Excitement is building as the Williamsport Community Band prepares for its 10th anniversary concert Sunday at 2 p.m. in the auditorium at Williamsport High School.

Part of the fervor stems from the announcement that Harry Kight, former band director at the school, will be returning as guest soloist and conductor.

"I'm looking forward to it," Kight said by telephone. "We will have a rehearsal Friday night and then the concert on Sunday."

Kight came to Williamsport in 1951 to start instrumental music classes in Williamsport schools. The outgrowth of that program became the WHS Blue Band, which Kight directed for 28 years until his retirement in 1979.

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"I haven't been back for many years," Kight said.

Now living in the Deep Creek Lake area, Kight still is active in music. He is assistant concertmaster of the Garrett County Community Concert Band, principal clarinetist with the Autumn Glory Festival Band and musical director of the Jazz All Stars.

During the winter months, Kight played for nine years in Venice, Fla., and has appeared as a clarinet soloist in choral societies, churches and with a jazz quartet on the Grand Princess cruise ship.

Sunday, Kight will perform the clarinet concerto "Concertino" by Carl Maria von Weber, and "They Can't Take That Away From Me" by George Gershwin.

There will be pre-concert entertainment at 1:30 p.m. with the Williamsport Community Band's flute choir.

And, according to Noel Kunkle, a member of the band and himself a veteran band director, the concert will close on a very sentimental note.

"Harry will conduct the community band in the Blue Band's most famous march," Kunkle said. That march is "Proud Heritage" by William Latham.

Susie Kunkle is the conductor of the Williamsport Community Band, which began during the summer of 1998. Practice was in the gazebo at Byron Memorial Park.

Then-Mayor John Slayman and longtime resident Nelson Deal had been on a mission for some time to have a town band, and their dream became a reality 10 years ago.

At first, the band was associated with Williamsport United Methodist Church. There were about 30 musicians in those early days. There are at least 60 now.

The male members of the band wear tuxedos, while the women wear white blouses and black slacks.

New members always are welcome to bring their instruments and join in the band's spring rehearsals at Williamsport Memorial Library.

Rehearsals are Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m., and those who want to attend are asked to use the door on the lower level of the library.

The band presents two indoor concerts a year - in December and May at the high school. There also is the July 4th spectacular in Byron Memorial Park each summer.

During the summer, the band also performs around the Tri-State area.

Submitted photo

Former Williamsport High School band director Harry Kight will return as guest soloist and conductor of the Williamsport Community Band at its 10th anniversary concert Sunday at 2 p.m. in the auditorium at Williamsport High School.

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