Rehearsals for the McGill’s Community Band are underway in preparation for the upcoming summer season.
On Thursday evenings from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., the Houlton High School band room comes alive with practicing musicians. Rehearsals will continue through the middle of June, at which time the summer band season officially begins.
Hard work and organization go into preparing the band members for the summer season. Mike Hutchinson, SAD 29 instrumental director, leads the musicians, who vary in age, background and experience. Ages range from as young as 13 all the way up to people in their 80s.
The chosen music reflects a diversity of skill – from relatively easy to medium difficulty (in other words, junior high to high school band music). The band is comprised of musicians who are both local and from surrounding towns, as far north as Presque Isle, east to New Brunswick and south to Island Falls and Patten. The group is also joined by folks who spend their summers in the Houlton community, from Portland, Bangor and New York.
The band has about 60 total members, with roughly 14 playing per concert on a rotating list.
This year the group has added quite a few new numbers, including: “Around the World in 80 Measures” with medleys that are familiar to certain countries; “I’m Still Standing,” a number made popular by Elton John; “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” from “Encanto”; “Disney Film Favorites,” “Music from Toy Story 2,” “Wallace and Gromit,” Stumpton Stomp,” “Running Up the Hill” from the Netflix series “Stranger Things; and a medley of Stevie Wonder songs.
Be on the lookout for McGill’s Community Band signs around town this summer. If you see one, it means the band will be performing that evening. Announcements may also be made on Facebook, the local paper and WHOU.
Each concert is sponsored by a local business, often offering, ice cream, tote bags, popcorn, and other treats. The group will play on a flatbed truck for the Fourth of July.
All are welcome to grab a lawn chair and join the band in Monument Park this summer. The group always seeks new members. For information, visit mcgillsband.com.