Jeannette Community Band aspires to achieve Sousa Award
The Jeannette Community Band hopes to be the recipient of the Sudler Silver Scroll Award presented by the John Phillip Sousa Foundation.
The Sousa Foundation, according to its website “is a non-profit foundation dedicated to the promotion of international understanding through the medium of band music.”
The Sudler Silver Scroll Award is a prestigious award “to identify, recognize and honor those community bands that have demonstrated particularly high standards of excellence in concert activities over a period of several years, and which have played a significant and leading role in the cultural and musical environment in their respective communities.”
Applications for the award were due early this month. Only three other community bands in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania have received this award: The Allentown Band, The Penn Central Wind Band in Lewisburg, and the East Winds Symphonic Band in Pittsburgh.
The Jeannette Community band has played “a significant and leading role in the cultural and musical environment,” in the City of Jeannette over the last 24 years.
Formed in 1988, for the Jeannette Centennial Celebration, the band was originally the Jeannette Centennial Band and even had majorettes who wore the uniforms from the years that they performed.
However, according to member Sherrie Wood, the band continued to play after the anniversary.
Wood said, “It was fun so we just kept on.”
In 1990, the name was changed to the Jeannette Community Band. The majority of the musicians are from Jeannette, but there are other members from the surrounding areas and as far away as Somerset.
The members come from all walks of life and include the city recreation director, as well as students from local high schools, and current and retired music educators.
Today the band has about 65 members, but at times the membership has gone as high as 73.
The youngest member of the band is Sarah Wood, 15, a flutist, who attends Penn Trafford High School. The oldest member is Edwin Mason, 93, who plays percussion.
The average age of the band members is 56.
There are also many families involved in the band. Brothers Ron and Tim Stemple, of Stemple Music on Harrison Avenue and their daughters, Erica Carlton and Stephanie Stemple all play in the band.
Ron Stemple and his daughter, Erica, are the current band directors.
The Stemple brothers also perform in a German band called Alpen-Glow. Alpen-Glow is one of the featured bands at the German Restaurant Hofbrauhaus located at the Southside Works in Pittsburgh.
Sherrie Wood and her daughter, Sarah, is another pair of intergenerational band members.
Dan Croft, who is the director of the Somerset Community Band has been playing with the Jeannette Community Band for 10 years and is the band's permanent guest conductor. Jeannette resident Carl Masciantonio is the senior conductor.
The band's next concert will be at 7 p.m. on Nov. 11 in honor of Veterans Day.
About 300 people attend this concert. The band will also perform a Christmas concert at the Legion in December and a Memorial Day Concert in May.
On the second Sunday each June, the band performs at the diamond in Ligonier where they expect 500 listeners. They often perform at the Westmoreland Arts and Heritage Festival and the Summerfest in Somerset.
For more information on the Jeannette Community Band, visit www.jcbweb.com or contact Sherrie Wood at 724-744-0773.
Margie Stanislaw is a freelance writer.
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