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Repasz Band to perform free concert on July 1

June 24, 2012
By DANA BORICK ( , Williamsport Sun-Gazette

One of the oldest community bands in the United States will perform a free concert at 7 p.m. July 1 in Brandon Park.

The Repasz Band was founded in Williamsport in 1831 and will treat audience members to its repertoire of marches, concert selections, show music and patriotic songs during the performance.

"Our summer concerts emphasize the familiar, and music that can be described as 'easy listening,'" said Judith Shellenberger, the band's business manager and a French horn player for 48 years. She added that the band was the first to play at the park.

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The Repasz Band will perform a free concert at 7 p.m. July 1 in Brandon Park.

"The Brandon Park Bandshell was dedicated on July 16, 1914, and the Repasz Band played a dedicatory concert at the bandshell," she said. "The Repasz Band was the first musical body to give a 'real concert' there."

The Repasz Band is comprised of 85 members, ages 15 to 85, who perform between 16 and 18 concerts each year.

The Repasz Band is the oldest non-military band in continuous existence in the United States. Although not the band's original name, early in its history, the membership voted to re-name the Williamsport Band for one of its most talented conductors, Daniel Repasz.

Shellenberger said she looks forward to performing her favorite song with the band, "The Repasz Band March."

Shellenberger said she's been playing with the band since 1964, when women were "officially" allowed to become members.

"My high school band director, Garth Kleckner, was one of the assistant directors of the Repasz Band. When I was a junior in high school he invited me and several other students to play with the Repasz Band for the summer concerts," she said. "At that time, no women were in the band so I only played in the summer concerts until they changed the rules and I was in the first group of women to be 'official' members of the band."

She said it is important for the community to come out and support community bands such as the Repasz Band because they are committed to performing high-quality band literature.

"It is fitting for the community to support the Repasz Band because the Repasz Band supports the community," Shellenberger said. "The band participates in civic and public functions each year, helping to promote patriotism and civic pride and involvement. We are a completely volunteer and nonprofit organization."

Other upcoming performances include 7 p.m. July 10, Loyalsock Township High School; 7 p.m. July 26, Slifer House Museum, Lewisburg; 6:30 p.m. July 31, Muncy Valley Hospital; 7 p.m. Aug. 7, Montoursville Area High School; and 5 p.m. Aug. 15, Little League Parade.

Shellenberger added that the Repasz Band provides a quality performing experience for high school, college-age and graduated students who wish to continue with musical performance after they are out of school.

"The Repasz Band is a proud winner of the John Philip Sousa Foundation's Sudler Historic Community Band Award which was presented in 2003 in recognition of the band's historical significance and high quality musical performances," Shellenberger said. "Our gifted director, Albert Nacinovich, was named to the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association inaugural Hall of Fame in 2009 in recognition of his lifetime of dedication to music performance and music education in Pennsylvania."

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