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Southwest Florida Concert Band kicks off 3rd season with veteran tribute

By Staff | Nov 14, 2019

The Southwest Florida Concert Band will kick off its concert season with a special “Salute to our Veterans” concert this weekend.

The “Salute to our Veterans” concert will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17, at Unitarian Universalist Church, 3411 Shire Lane in Fort Myers.

The concert is free with donations accepted.

“This is going to be our third season. We are the newest community concert band in Southwest Florida. We play a wide variety of music from marches to music from John Williams to Broadway hits. We play swing music, Dixieland music and traditional folk music,” Southwest Florida Concert Band Director of Music John Monachan said. “The mission of the band is to promote the love of music and develop the appreciation of music.”

He became the conductor of the Southwest Florida Concert Band after he was offered the opportunity. Monachan, a retired military professional Air Force musician, played with the Armed Forces for 39 years.

The performance, which will include patriotic music, will begin with a salute to the Armed Forces, including the five main branch songs, before moving on to the reflective Hymn of Freedom. The band also will traditional American folk songs, including the Sousa march titled “Liberty Bell.” The memorable “Homefront, Songs of World War II” will be performed providing veterans with the opportunity to sing along with the tunes.

“Arlington, Where Giants Lie Sleeping” will also be performed.

The concert will include a trumpet solo, a euphonium trio, as well as a swinging Glenn Miller medley and Dixieland music. The performance will conclude with “The Stars and Stripes Forever” by John Phillip Sousa.

“The band is made up of professional musicians and amateur musicians that want to pursue their passion for music,” Monachan said. “The band fluctuates. Right now there are about 40 musicians for the Veterans concert. It will increase as more snowbirds come down and join the band.”

The audition-based group, includes high school aged musicians to those in their 80s. He said when music is introduced to someone, it stays with them forever.

“Right now we do have openings for musicians in almost all of our sections. We are looking for clarinets, French horns, trombones . . . pretty much everything that is a member of the band,” he said.

Those interested in applying can do so by emailing conductor@SWFLConcertBand.org.

Southwest Florida Concert Band is a nonprofit community group that has a scholarship program. Last year the group awarded $500 in music scholarships to two high school students, members of the band, who are pursing music.

The 2019-2020 schedule includes a Christmas concert at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15 and a Broadway music concert at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19.

For more information, or for the bands schedule, visit www.SWFLConcertBand.org.