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Repasz Band returns to Community Arts Center stage for holiday concert

PHOTO PROVIDED The Repasz Band poses for a photo.

The beat goes on for the historic Repasz Band, which will resume its regular Community Arts Center shows with a holiday concert at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 7.

Originally founded in 1831 and now nearing its 200th anniversary, Williamsport’s renowned ensemble has played both spring and winter shows at the CAC every year for decades.

But with COVID protocols putting a damper on both practice and performance, the group has not appeared on the CAC stage since 2019.

Led by conductors Jeff Dent and Jessica Lewis, Tuesday’s concert offers a variety of seasonal music.

This includes such standards as “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and Leroy Anderson’s beloved “Sleigh Ride,” plus two holiday medleys featuring “Deck the Halls,” “Patapan,” “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” “Joy to the World” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing!”

Also on the program: A Sousa march incorporating “Auld Lang Syne”; a jazzed-up swing version of “Good King Wenceslas” by veteran arranger Sammy Nestico; a Chanukah medley; and “A Winter’s Night,” which finishes with the band singing “Silent Night.”

And as with all the group’s concerts, the show will open with “The Star-Spangled Banner” and close with the ensemble’s signature “Repasz Band March.”

This year’s Christmas concert will be shorter than past shows, without an intermission.

“Due to COVID safety expectations, our current participation is at about 50%,” Dent told the Sun-Gazette. “Yet the band is still balanced, and we are very excited to perform at the Community Arts Center once again.”

Safety measures for the band include distancing onstage as well as protective bell-covers for wind instruments. The CAC currently requires masking for all concert-goers.

This holiday show is free and open to the public, but — unlike past shows — canned goods will not be collected at the door; guests are encouraged to instead donate to a local food bank.

Despite the ongoing health crisis, Repasz managed several outdoor concerts over the past year, including Williamsport’s 2020 Christmas Spectacular along West Fourth Street.

Now in a new rehearsal space at the Olivewood Complex (former Christ Lutheran Church) in Montgomery, Repasz expects to play its usual spring concert at the CAC in April.

“And,” adds Dent, “we look forward to our regular round of summer concerts next year in local parks and communities.”

More information is available at repaszband.org

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