A Brief History
updated 20 November 2009
The State College Area Municipal Band originally, known as the State College Municipal Band, became a year-round continuing performing organization in 1981, under the management of Larry Pharo. Prior to 1981 the band played occasional concerts for the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts. The first band, records indicate, was organized to play at the 1976 Arts Festival.
Under Dr. Ramsey as full-time conductor in 1981, the band started playing indoor concerts. The earliest program on file is dated February 1981, followed by the first annual Mother's Day concert. The band added a fall concert in 1983, later to develop into its annual Salute to Veterans.
During 1983 there were various guest conductors, and in May 1984, Dr. 0. Richard Bundy became the director. In 1985, the band played a March Concert and a fall concert, and around that time began to play regularly for the Kiwanis Club's 4th of July Fireworks display at Beaver Stadium. In May 1987 a highlight of the program was the guest conductor appearance of then Penn State President Bryce Jordan, who has a degree in music.
In February 1996 Dr. Ned C. Deihl, Professor Emeritus and retired Director of Bands at Penn State, became the conductor of the State College Area Municipal Band. In November 1998, the band formally organized with bylaws, officers, and a Board of Directors, and continued its partnership with Centre Region Parks and Recreation. During his tenure, Dr. Deihl has programmed various guest soloists from United States Military Bands, the New York Philharmonic, and the Music Faculty at Penn State. The size of both the audience and the band has grown dramatically during his tenure.
In May 2005, the band was honored with an invitation, selected by audition tapes, to perform at the National Convention of the American Association of Concert Bands in Williamsport PA, "hitting the road" for the first time in its history.
Each year during its indoor season the band presents four Sunday afternoon programs-Fall, Winter, Spring and Mother's Day. The band usually performs three times during the summer: Arts Festival, the 4th Fest and the Summer Music Picnic Series at South Hills.
The band currently has eight married couples as members, and there are players from age 19 to 82, coming from State College and from all around the Centre Region including Bellefonte, Howard, Aaronsburg, Lock Haven, Mifflinburg, Lewistown, Huntingdon and Johnstown. A number of members have college degrees in music and a dozen or more are band directors or music teachers, and the rest come from a wide variety of professions, including rocket science! The level of musicianship is considered to be higher than most community bands. New members are welcome as needed for balanced instrumentation. The band rehearses weekly on Wednesday evenings.
The First Program of the State College Municipal Band, July 11, 1976
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