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Band concert sends listeners back in time

July 05, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

HAGERSTOWN -- Sunday's performance by the Hagerstown Municipal Band was an extension of the Independence Day celebration, but it also took some attendees back in time.

The band's annual July Fourth concert at the Peter Buys Band Shell in City Park Sunday night featured patriotic songs, including military marches, to get everyone in the holiday mood.

Some of the people in attendance said the show was like living in the 1950s.

"It's like being in a movie setting," said one woman in attendance.

The woman, who declined to give her name, said she grew up in Berkeley Springs, W.Va., and used to come to Hagerstown often to shop.

The woman now lives in Florida and was back in town reminiscing.

"It's all-American," she said of the show.

Jane Amero of Falling Waters, W.Va., said she only misses a few performances by the band each year. She said she loves the group because its music reminds her of pops concerts she saw in Boston in the 1940s and '50s.

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"They're very good and they play a nice variety. And they have a great history," Amero said of the local band.

The history is deep, indeed.

Lynn Lerew, the band's conductor, said he has been told that the band's Fourth of July concert has probably been going on since the 95-year-old group began.

It's an extension of the July Fourth celebration after local residents have caught other shows, like the annual Salute to Independence at Antietam National Battlefield, Lerew said.

Sunday's 7:30 p.m. show was the fifth performance in the group's 11-show summer schedule.

The band has expanded its performance schedule, doing a Christmas show in December for the first time in 25 years. This year, the group is planning two holiday performances, among other additions to its schedule, Lerew said.

The group has also been inviting the heads of local high school music programs to conduct the band, including Jeremy Karacz from North Hagerstown High School, who was a guest conductor Sunday night.

The area in front of the band shell was full of people who set up lawn chairs to hear Sunday's performance. Bold sounds from the band rolled out of the shell as spectators soaked them up on the clear summer evening.

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