Repasz Band at the Brandon Park Bandshell
The Repasz Band is the oldest, non-military band in the country. The group formed in 1831 and is still going strong. With the band’s solid core of musicians that has lasted over many decades, they have become well-known around the Williamsport area.
According to their website, the band plays “15 to 20 concerts and parades per year” and one of their special annual performances will occur this coming weekend at Brandon Park. The concert will begin at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Bandshell.
“We do a lot of crowd pleasers,” said flutist, Lindsey Porter. “We will play ‘Mary Poppins’ and ‘Oklahoma! medleys.”
They also perform marches from the Civil War era and “The Repasz Band March” which was written specifically for the band.
Saxophonist, Dr. Mona Chang said that the band typically plays about 12 popular songs during this annual event.
“[The bandshell] is strange acoustically,” she explained. “You can hear across the band and it sounds like they’re sitting right next to you.”
Her husband and trumpeter for the band, Joseph Smith said, “Of all our summer concerts, it’s the biggest turn out.”
The couple said that the band plays a numerous amount of summer concerts around Lycoming County and as far as Lock Haven and Milton.
The Repasz Band is a community band made up of members from early teens to senior citizens who have a passion for making music. It has been a way for people to do what they love without the pressure of being the next Yo-Yo Ma.
“It’s a community group with people of all ages, abilities and professions,” Porter said. “There are teachers, doctors, nurses and gas company workers.”
Being such an eclectic group they all share a similar goal, to play well and have fun.
“The Repasz Band is a good band,” Smith said. “We sound good and the conductor is good.”
Smith and Chang both greatly enjoy playing under the instruction of Albert Nacinovich who has been involved in the band for more than 30 years.
“I spent my entire high school career getting yelled at [by my conductor]; what I call the ‘shout and spit’ variety. [Nacinovich] uses humor to get people to play well,” Smith said.
Other than to entertain the community, the musicians value their place in the band which allows them to fulfill their desire to play.
Porter has been playing in the band since she moved to Williamsport after graduating with a music education degree from Mansfield University.
“I missed playing with a group,” she said. “There was no reason to practice my flute and I wanted to still play and perform. Repasz gave that to me.”
Repasz also has been a musical outlet for Chang for 22 years. “You don’t normally play saxophone by yourself or in church, so I needed a place to play,” she said.
“Also because she’s a brilliant saxophone player!” Smith chimed in, who joined to do something with his wife.
Repasz Band allows its members to enjoy themselves and to work together to create good music for the community to appreciate.
They will be performing concerts throughout the summer.
For more about Repasz Band visit www.lycoming.org/repaszband.