Strike up the band: It's time for a concert in the park

·3 min read

Jun. 11—HERMITAGE — Gathered in the band room at Kennedy Catholic High School, the members of the Buhl Community Concert Band opened their rehearsal Monday evening with some scales before practicing the "Star Spangled Banner."

After some adjustments under the guidance of Director Judy Mindicino, the band finished the piece and moved on to the "Armed Forces Salute" — one of many other pieces that will be performed for the band's upcoming performance this Wednesday.

"There's some fun pieces and some challenging pieces, but we always try to make sure it's something that will touch everybody," Mindicino said.

The performance will begin at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Performing Arts Center in Buhl Park, as part of the Hermitage park's free summer concert series.

However, this performance will also mark a pair of anniversaries for Buhl Park and the Buhl Community Concert Band.

For Buhl Park, this marks the anniversary of the first Wednesday concert in the park's summer concert series on June 14, 2006. Prior to that, concerts were only on Sundays, Mindicino said.

That date was also the first performance for the Buhl Community Concert Band, which was originally formed by Mindicino and the late Fred Boles, the former band director at Sharon High School.

Boles and Mindicino wanted to give local musicians a chance to play year-round, since the Mercer Community Band already existed but only played a summer concert.

Since then, the Buhl Community Concert Band has grown from about 25 people to about 40, ranging in age from 15 to 90. Band members come from as near as Mercer and Lawrence counties to Trumbull and Mahoning counties in Ohio, Mindicino said.

As the years passed and the band's membership grew, the Buhl Community Concert Band continued to perform during the summer concert series, aside from a few rain-outs and the COVID-19 pandemic.

All the while, the band did so without any monetary compensation from the park, in memory of the park's founders, Frank and Julia Buhl.

"Many of our musicians donate their time and talents to the park, so we don't receive a fee," Mindicino said. "We want to be like Frank and Julia and give back to the community."

To commemorate their first performance, Mindicino said the band will perform several upbeat pieces that were played during that original concert, including "Circus March," "Florentiner March," "Sound of Music," "Summertime," and "The Thunderer March."

An annual piece making its return will be the "Armed Forces Salute," which will recognize veterans in the audience by branches of service. Other patriotic pieces will include the "Star Spangled Banner" and "Stars and Stripes Forever."

Other pieces will include "Kookaburra" and "Tunes of Glory," as well as "Instant Swing Concert" and "Take the A-Train," which Mindicino hope will encourage visitors to hop out of their seats and take advantage of the performing art center's new dance pad.

However, to commemorate the park as well, the band will perform the "United Nations March," during which longtime Buhl Park trustee and board member Mitzi Kuster will be invited to direct the band.

The park board of trustees will also be invited to join the band on the stage, Mindicino said.

"It'll be a great time to honor the trustees and the board of directors for their support of the park and Frank and Julia's vision of a park for the people," she said.

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