GONE WITH THE WOODWINDS

Port Townsend Summer Band kicks brass after more than 20 months at rest

Posted 7/30/21

T

he mid-afternoon sun reflected silver and gold off of each metallic instrument. The band was vibrating with excitement, itching to perform for the fast-growing crowd.

For the first time in …

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GONE WITH THE WOODWINDS

Port Townsend Summer Band kicks brass after more than 20 months at rest

For the first time in over 20 months, the Port Townsend Summer Band perform a live and in-person concert at Pope Marine Park plaza.
For the first time in over 20 months, the Port Townsend Summer Band perform a live and in-person concert at Pope Marine Park plaza.
Leader photo by Alli Patton
Posted

The mid-afternoon sun reflected silver and gold off of each metallic instrument. The band was vibrating with excitement, itching to perform for the fast-growing crowd.

For the first time in almost two years, the Port Townsend Summer Band performed a live and in-person concert Sunday, July 25. Between the spectators and the musicians, the elation for the return of live music hung thick in the warm summer air.

Brass, woodwind, and percussion were lined along Pope Marine Park plaza to serenade the community with every toot, honk, and whistle that wafted through the selection of songs. From the “Mandalorian” theme to “Danny Boy,” the band’s setlist played host to a variety of standards to more modern picks.

The 32 players this summer were led by music director and conductor Marge Rosen.

Due to conduct the 2020 season, Rosen came on board as the new music director just as the pandemic hit.

“Her first season was a bust,” said Tracy Wirta, the band’s board president.

However, when the 2020 summer band season couldn’t happen, Rosen contacted the band to put together a virtual program last fall. Each section met over Zoom once a week, and the band members recorded their parts from their respective homes and sent those recording off to Rosen. She edited the videos together to create virtual performances so the band wouldn’t miss out on playing together.

Wirta described the experience as “really, really fun and really, really hard.”

“[Rosen] stuck with us through that whole pandemic situation. She worked really hard with us to determine when it was safe to meet in person.”

The board continued to meet once a month through the pandemic, trying to sort out how to keep the band alive and together during that time, Wirta explained.

They took it slow when rehearsal could safely begin again. First, sectional rehearsals took place in outdoor locations. Over a month ago, they finally began rehearsing as a full band at the American Legion Hall.

“It’s amazing. It feels so good,” Wirta said, adding the first rehearsal they had all together was an emotional one. There were very few dry eyes.

The band’s season would normally begin in May with a Memorial Day performance. Then, the summer performances would take place one Sunday a month in June, July, and August.

Along with performances at the Fourth of July picnic at Fort Worden, the Uptown Street Fair in August, and Veterans Day concert in November, the band schedule stays busy.

This year the season had to be abbreviated, but that doesn’t mean their performances will be any less captivating.

“When we sat down and started playing under Marge’s direction, we realized that this was the season where we were upping our game,” Wirta added.

“I think the community is gonna be really happy with what they hear from the band this season.”

The next performance is planned for Sunday, Aug. 29.

For more information on the band and upcoming performances, visit ptsummerband.org.

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