Musicians bring passion to Town
By LYNN TRYBA, Telegraph Staff
Published: Monday, Aug. 16, 2004
Note: this article is reprinted with permission from the Nashua Telegraph of Nashua, N.H. All
rights reserved, Nashua Telegraph.
AMHERST - Far from being a
scolding mother figure who needs to nag her kids to practice their instruments, Pat
Anderson leads a band of musicians who couldnt be more eager.
The Amherst Town Band conductor still cant get over how it feels to receive e-mails
from 40-somethings asking her what the play list will be for their weekly get-togethers.
These people practice to get ready for their practices.
Theyre all so focused and passionate, said Anderson, who is also
Souhegan High Schools choral director.
The town bands 45 members come from all walks of life and diverse professional
fields, including law, medicine, computer technology and education. Their ages range from
12 to older than 70.
Their love of music unites them. That same love bonds the Amherst Town Band with the
Milford Haven Town Band of Wales in the United Kingdom.
The bands struck up a relationship a decade ago and have been flying back and forth to
visit and perform together ever since.
Letters, calls, cards and e-mails have helped cement the friendships since then, said Tad
Thompson, last years band president.
Were all bandies. We love music. We hit it off, he said.
To get over there and play with them is the cherry on top of the sundae.
The Amherst Town Band traveled across the pond for the second time July 23 to spend a week
performing with the Milford Haven band. As always, band members pay their own fare and are
then taken in by host families.
The bands performed in five concerts and two parades. Playing together is not without its
The Milford Haven band is an all brass band (no woodwinds), and the Amherst band is a
standard American concert band with woodwinds. As a result, the musicians dont all
read the same kind of music.
Anderson and Milford Haven conductor collaborated before the trip to ensure that the bands
would be able to play together with no hitches.
The Amherst Town Band has been a tradition since it formed as part of a PTA play in 1986.
Former resident Jean Butler and her husband, Irv, shepherded the band for the first decade
or so of its life, Thompson said.
When the couple moved to Florida, the band said Mom and Dad are gone
now, Thompson said.
A volunteer board of directors now carries out the workings of the band, including
deciding which promising young band members should be awarded scholarships to continue
with their musical education in college.
The band, a nonprofit organization, gives about a dozen free concerts a year. It mixes
things up, with Broadway tunes, marches, jazz, classical and pop.
Amhersts large Independence Day celebration began as an Amherst Town Band concert
The band still performs July 3 before the fireworks. It also plays at the Mont Vernon Old
Such performances are the bands way of giving back to the community, Thompson said.
Without an audience, a band is just rehearsing.
Lynn Tryba can be reached at 594-6402 or firstname.lastname@example.org.