On Friday evening, May 26th, at 7:30 p.m., the Lake Effect Concert Band, an all-volunteer community concert band sponsored by the Snowbelt Musical Arts Association (SMAA), will perform its first public concert at the Hope Ridge United Methodist Church, 9870 Johnnycake Ridge Road, Mentor, Ohio.
The “Strike Up the Band” concert will feature a mixture of traditional band music and pop standards and almost 80 area musicians ranging in age from young teens to septuagenerians. The concert is free and open to the general public; donations are welcome. The church is handicapped-accessible and provides ample free parking. Doors open at 7:00 p.m.
The May concert will be conducted by Greg Hillis, SMAA’s founder and executive director, who was the conductor for the Great Geauga County Fair Band and Junior Fair Band from 2004 to 2016. Hillis is a musician, teacher, composer and hornist who has appeared as a soloist or guest conductor with many of Northeastern Ohio’s most distinguished symphonic and chamber orchestras.
He reports, “Seventy-eight people showed up for our first rehearsal, 20 of whom I was meeting for the first time. The SMAA Board, our many volunteers, and I are grateful for the wonderful support the talented musicians of Lake and Geauga counties are giving us, and are excited to be sharing our love of music with the wider community through this inaugural concert.”
Among the numbers on the program for the Lake Effect Concert Band’s first concert are Triad by circus band composer J.J. Richards, which will be performed by three of the band’s trumpet players, a medley of songs by the renowned French film-score composer Michel Legrand, John Williams’ Midway March from the film “Midway,” and of course the Gershwin show tune Strike Up the Band, for which this concert was named.
Hillis will also be conducting for the first time the challenging Prelude Siciliano and Rondo by English composer, Sir Malcolm Henry Arnold, CBE.
The SMAA was formed as a non-profit organization in January of 2017. It is dedicated to providing musical arts programming in the Snowbelt region of Northeast Ohio. SMAA’s mission is to enrich, educate and entertain the community by providing local, affordable opportunities for audiences to hear a variety of high-quality musical performances. In addition to the mixed-age Lake Effect Concert Band, SMAA sponsors the Blizzard Youth Winds, which provides woodwind, brass and percussion players, in grades 7 through 12 and from a variety of schools, with an opportunity to rehearse and perform concert band music in a concentrated, professional manner.
Pictured In Photo: Greg Hillis conducting the first rehearsal of the Lake Effect Concert Band.