THE CONCORD BAND was founded in 1959 as a marching unit for Concord’s Patriots’ Day parade, and since 1970 has been exclusively a concert organization, playing fourteen or more concerts each year. The Band performs regularly at its permanent home, the Performing Arts Center at 51 Walden Street in Concord, at its summer home at Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, Massachusetts, and at Concord’s “Picnic in the Park” on Independence Day. The Band also has played summer concerts in the towns of Belmont, Bolton, Hudson and Littleton, Massachusetts, as well as Milford and Nashua, New Hampshire. The Concord Band frequently participates in the Boston Festival of Bands at Faneuil Hall, held annually in June.
In 2013 the Concord Band received the Sudler Silver Scroll from the John Philip Sousa Foundation. This award “recognizes community concert bands of outstanding musical excellence” and is “North America’s most prestigious award for community concert bands.” The Concord Band was the first community band in New England to receive this distinction.
The sixty-five members of the Band represent many area communities and a wide variety of professions. Band members have been associated with the organization for an average of sixteen years, and sixteen have been members for twenty-five years or more. Many are alumni of prestigious college, military, or professional bands.
University of Massachusetts Director of Bands Malcolm W. Rowell once described the Concord Band as “a wonderful ensemble with a marvelous history... a cultural treasure.” Lt. Col. Steven Grimo (retired), commander of the U. S. Air Force Academy Band, described the Concord Band as “true Patriots and the Soul of New England. The Concord Band is truly a Community Band with a professional attitude. They enjoy the experience of making music and know how to Make it Happen!”
Over the years, the Band has engaged numerous noted guest conductors. These have included Frederick Fennell, William Revelli, Arnald Gabriel, Leonard B. Smith, John Corley, Willis Traphagan, Peter Hazzard, Lee Chrisman, James Curnow, Steven Grimo, Thomas G. Everett, Alfred Dentino, Christopher Morehouse, Paul Berler, William H. Silvester, Malcolm W. Rowell, Steven Barbas, Elliot Del Borgo and Keith Brion.
Since 1967, the Band has commissioned or inspired more than 80 original works and arrangements for symphonic wind ensemble—possibly more than any other community band in the world. Composers include Norman Dello Joio, Peter Hazzard, Richard Cornell, Robert Sirota, John Bavicchi, Douglas Toland, Kurt Phinney, Warren Barker, John Higgins, James Curnow, Thomas J. McGah, Dan Lutz, Stephen Bulla, William Gordon, Lewis Buckley, Julie Giroux, Elliot Del Borgo, Jerry Seeco, Roger Cichy, Andrew Boysen, Jr., Rene Pfister, et al, and Jerry Vabulas, as well as by the Band’s Music Director Laureate, the late William M. Toland, and Music Director Emeritus, Dr. William G. McManus.
The Concord Band’s published CDs A Winter Festival, The Best of the Concord Band in Concert: 1992-1994, and The Concord Band Salutes America—as well as limited edition concert audio and video recordings available to friends of the Band—are a great way to preserve the heritage of the Band.