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Nacinovich led historic Repasz Band superbly

We’re hoping for standing room only Tuesday night at the Community Arts Center.

Not only is it the annual Winter Holiday Concert of the Repasz Band, it also will be the final performance under the direction of Maestro Albert J. Nacinovich.

Nacinovich has been involved with the Williamsport-based band for the past 47 years and director for 37 years, since 1982. That makes him the band’s longest serving director, following the 31 years served by composer and world-renowned cornetist John Hazel from 1910 to 1941.

Under Nacinovich’s leadership, the band today has grown in size and talent and has continued to perform at many venues and functions well beyond the local region.

Founded in 1831, Repasz Band performed at Appomattox Court House in Virginia in 1865 as Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union forces. It returned there in 2015, with Nacinovich as its conductor, for the 150th anniversary commemoration of the event that ended the Civil War.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of events of historical significance at which the band’s presence has been heard, from the Presidential Convention of 1844 when Henry Clay was nominated for President of the United States to the inaugural parades in 1905 and 1909 for Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, respectively, to the dedication of President Grant’s Tomb on April 27, 1894.

While Nacinovich was not around for those, he was there for the rededication in 1997 of Grant’s Tomb.

Of the Repasz Band’s 188 years, Nacinovich has been involved as either a performer or conductor for a full quarter of its existence. And while he is retiring from his post after Tuesday’s concert, he plans to show up on occasion for “a few spot appearances.”

The historic band has a solid foothold in this community and certainly is better for Nacinovich’s leadership. It’s hard to imagine the Repasz without him. All we can do is stand up and applaud.

Well done, maestro!

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