Community Band Festival Draws Over 1,000
The Dunedin Music Society hosted the second Pinellas Festival of Community Bands on Saturday, April 8 2017, connecting over 1,000 enthusiastic fans of live music.
Over 1,000 people attended and performed in the Pinellas Festival of Community Bands 2017, hosted by the Dunedin Music Society
The Pinellas Festival of Community Bands began last year after local Conductors and volunteers had the same idea at the same time: to help each other share live music with our communities, by collaborating.
The event was such a success that this year’s Festival was expanded to include additional community bands from outside Pinellas County. An estimated 680 audience members sat in warm sunshine at Dunedin’s Highlander Park as almost 500 volunteer musicians performed on Sindoon Stage, each community band performing separately but then combining at the end for a rousing rendition of “Washington Post” by Sousa. “Passion and collaboration have proven time and time again to be far more effective and impacting than pride or individual gain,” says Stephen P. Brown, Interim General Director of the newly-formed Dunedin Music Society.
Bill Findeison (far right), Founder and Director of the Awesome Second Time Arounders Marching Band, helps some of the performers warm-up before the Pinellas Festival of Community Bands 2017
Performing groups included the Awesome Second Time Arounders Marching Band, the Dunedin Concert Band, the Eastern Hillsborough Community Band, the St. Petersburg Community Band, and the Wesley Chapel Wind Ensemble. Over $100 was donated to each band after Festival expenses were accounted for. Festival Coordinator Lee Lafleur said “We are thrilled so many community members support live music enough that the Festival could actually contribute to each volunteer band’s expenses. Having Papa John’s Pizza and Strahan’s Ice Cream feeding everyone definitely helped create a festive mood.”
Papa John’s Pizza helped feed hungry audience and performers at the Pinellas Festival of Community Bands 2017, including saxophone player Greg Howard of the Dunedin Concert Band
Ben Hrpka and Kenneth R. Watts, both Conductors of participating bands, remarked on how difficult it was to maintain composure on the outdoor stage. “This wind is a bear!” said Watts when he addressed the audience. Walking around Highlander Park during the Festival, Dunedin Concert Band performers Alicen and Ted Barrett overheard audience comments such as “I love the music. A nice variety.” “I had no idea Dunedin had a band. They are really good.” “Wow, I love music outdoors,” and “We have to be sure to come next year.”
The St. Petersburg Community Band prepares to open the Pinellas Festival of Community Bands 2017 while flag twirlers of the Awesome Second Time Arounders warm up.
“The Dunedin Music Society is very encouraged by the reaction of the audience at this year’s Festival,” said Tom Krisa, Chair and President of the Dunedin Music Society. “We are already working with the City of Dunedin Parks and Recreation Department to find an alternative venue or an alternative date for 2018’s Festival, which looks to be even bigger than this year’s!” Next year’s Festival may include additional community bands based in Pinellas County as well as bands from around Florida and other States. Interest has even been expressed from bands beyond USA borders including Canada, the UK, and Germany, which would mean the Pinellas Festival of Community Bands will be connecting local communities with live music at an international level.
The Dunedin Concert Band is presenting a “Dance with Disney” concert on Friday, April 21 at 7:30pm in the Dunedin Community Center. Admission is free, but donations of $10 per person are invited. More information is available at www.dunedinconcertband.com