Southwest Florida Concert Band to perform Sunday
Join the Southwest Florida Concert Band for some holiday tunes this Sunday, which will be sure to get the entertain family singing along.
The Lehigh Concert Band, a nonprofit organization that began in 1979, changed its name to the Southwest Florida Concert Band last year. The name change occurred due to 80 percent of the members living outside of Lehigh Acres in such areas as Sanibel, Naples, Fort Myers, Bonita Springs, Estero, North Fort Myers and Cape Coral.
Southwest Florida Concert Band Director of Music John Monachan, a Lehigh Acres resident, said when he became the director 5 years ago, he convinced players to come from afar to Lehigh Acres to rehearse and play. About 3 years ago, it became apparent that Lehigh could no longer support a band on its own.
Conversations were had with the members and the board of directors to address such questions as: did they want to continue the band in Lehigh, or move it to an area where they can grow and prosper?
The latter was chosen and all of the Lehigh Acres members became the core members of the Southwest Florida Concert Band.
The band’s mission is to “promote the love of music and develop music appreciation through the rehearsal and performance of concert band music in the Southwest Florida community.”
Rehearsal is held every Tuesday night at South Fort Myers High School, and a free performance is held once a month at the same location.
Fifty musicians make up the band.
“We also have a brass quintet and sometimes some smaller groups that go out and play at churches and nursing homes,” Monachan said. “We have played at Fountain Crest Retirement Community and at the Lehigh Senior Center with our smaller group.”
The free performance of the Southwest Florida Concert Band will take place at 2 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 16, at South Fort Myers High School, 14020 Plantation Road.
The performance, which is Christmas themed, will include Leroy Anderson’s classic “Christmas Festival,” followed by “Hanukkah Festival of Lights.” Guest vocalist Kathy Eagle will sing “Santa Baby” before kids of all ages will perform music from “Polar Express.” Another performance will include “Christmas Can Can,” followed by some holiday favorites from the brass quintet “The Brass Monkeys.”
The Southwest Florida Band will also play “Canadian Brass Christmas Suite,” music from the Disney movie “Frozen,” as well as “Jingle Bells in Dixie.”
The program will conclude with a special visit from Mrs. Claus, who will be sitting in a rocking chair reading the book “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” while the band plays music in the background.
Monachan said they will invite the youngsters up to the front of the stage for this portion of the program.
The remaining concerts of the season will take place at 2 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 27; Sunday, Feb. 24 and Sunday, March 24.
The January program, he said, will feature a Broadway concert. A Lehigh Acres Senior Center member will be the announcer for the concert. Music will feature tunes from “Les Miserable,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Oklahoma,” “Phantom of the Opera” and “Wizard of Oz.” The February program is a John Williams concert.
“All the concerts are free. We take donations, but they are not required,” Monachan said. “We are pretty entertaining, I think.”
The Southwest Florida Concert Band has a few openings for trombone and percussion musicians. Applicants must be able to perform at a first chair level.
Those interested can contact Monachan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the band, visit www.swflconcertband.org.