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North Little Rock Community Concert Band to open 2014 season on 2014

The North Little Rock Community Concert Band will open its 2014 season of performances on Sunday, March 16, at the Patrick Henry Hays Center. Music Director Rico Belotti will conduct the band in a program he calls “People, Places and Things.”

The musical program will present the following and feature numerous members of the band as soloists: Stars, Stripes and Drums / The Star Spangled Banner; Brighton Beach March by William Latham; Ireland (a medley containing St. Patrick’s Day-Donnybrook-The Irish Washerwomen- I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen- The Kerry Dance), arranged by Warren Barker; When Johnny Comes Marching Home Patrick Gilmore / arranged by Brandon Ridenhour / adapted for band by Michael Brown; A Saint-sational Trio, arranged by Michael Story; The Symphonic Beatles (A Hard Day’s Night-Yesterday-I Want To Hold Your Hand-Michelle-Hey Jude), arranged by John Cacavas; Malaguena Ernesto Lecuona, rranged by John Cacavas; New Holland March/ Harry Neidermeyer, arranged by Jerry Brubaker; The Wizard of Oz Fantasy, arranged by Paul Yoder; American Patrol, F.W. Meacham and The Stars and Stripes Forever, John Philip Sousa.

The hour-long, family friendly concert by the all volunteer wind band will begin at 3 p.m. and there is no admission cost. Future concerts by the band will include May 2, June 13 and July 11 at Lakewood Village and Nov. 2 at the Hays Center.

“We continue to welcome new players to the band,” said Director Rico Belotti. “Many of them come to us by way of our website.”

When a new resident moves into the greater Little Rock area they will search for music groups that they might be able to perform with again.

“We are fortunate enough to add new players through those contacts. And other new players come to us by present members recruiting from their contacts at work, church or school,” he said.

Since community bands are all volunteer groups they rarely ever play with the same exact roster of players due to family, work church or other music commitments. This means that the more players on the roster the better chance of always having a fully instrumented group.

“So we are always looking for new players to join our ensemble,” said Belotti.

The June concert this year will feature the combined North Little Rock and Pine Bluff Community Bands.

“We combined for the May concert last year and the Pine Bluff folks had such a good time that they asked if we could do it again,” Belotti said. “This year the two ensembles will be playing more selections together rather than having a short concert by each band.”

The Director of the Pine Bluff Band is Jerry Williams.

“We will also make our yearly appearance at the Race for the Cure to support all the runners and walkers,” he said. “Many of our band members, including me, have breast cancer survivors who are family or close friends and playing for the race is an important event for us.”

As the race has lengthened in time it has become a bit of a marathon for the band as well as members attempt to never let more than 60 seconds go by without playing once the first runners reach the band.

“And that is the one time that I get to play as well as direct the band. Its the closest thing we do to an old time circus band performance and it is a very taxing, albeit very rewarding, bit of music making,” he said.

The Hays Center is at 401 W. Pershing in North Little Rock. For more information, call 758-2576 or visit www.nlrcommunityband.com.

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