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Search on for Lehigh Concert Band conductor

August 22, 2012
By MEL TOADVINE ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

The Lehigh Acres Concert Band, a long-time favorite group since the 1970s when it played to filled audiences at the old Lehigh Auditorium, plans to begin its 2012-2013 season next month, but it needs someone to be its conductor.

"We need a conductor, like right now," said Lynne Criss, president of the band, who also performs in the concerts.

And longtime Lehigh Concert Band performer William Hostetler agrees. Hostetler who has held office in the band organization for years, says a band needs someone "to make it work smoothly, a conductor," he says, "who pulls it all together."

Article Photos

Len Makowski, Terry Gable, William Hostetler and Bea Foulette. The band is looking for a conductor.

Criss said rehearsals are beginning in September with a first concert planned in October.

"We need someone in the community who has a musical background, who can play an instrument or instruments, to join us to be a conductor," Criss said.

"Currently we have at least 25 members who play and we could use even more," Criss said. "Ages if our members range from in their 20 to their 90s. Our band is composed of people who have been in bands in the past in other areas, or who have played in schools and other venues," Criss said.

If you want to be a conductor of the band, call Criss immediately at 949-1834. She says it is important since rehearsals are being planned along with upcoming concerts.

"Our concerts are held at the Faith Lutheran Church at 705 Leeland Heights Blvd. in Lehigh. They are free to the public but we do pass around a basket for any donations which helps up pay for rent of the church hall and other incidentals," she said.

George Unverzagt has been conductor for several years but has had to quit due to health reasons.

Before him were people like Helen D. Rock, who headed the band for several years. She still takes part in the band despite poor health.

Criss says members of local school bands and orchestras are welcome to join the Lehigh Concert Band. Even as a conductor, if they have a good command of music. She said the band welcomes high school band members as performers, too.

"This gives them a different venue to perform and it enhances their experience," Criss said.

She has a vast background in music, being able to play almost every type of instrument and has taught band and orchestra over the years in different schools.

Criss, who lives in Estero, noted that rehearsals are also held at Faith Lutheran Church and start on Sept. 11.

"Our first concert will be on Oct. 21 and will be at 3 p.m. at the church in its hall which will hold up to 200 people and more," she said. The group held a meeting this past Tuesday night at the church with its goal to set dates, themes and programs for the band. And the subject of finding a conductor was on everyone's mind.

"Like I said, a conductor brings us all together with his baton and his or her reading of music," said member William Hostetler.

Past conductor George Unverzagt was quoted in an earlier Citizen story when in rehearsal, he called out for the band to stop playing.

"We've got a lot to do tonight," Conductor Unverzagt shouted as band members quieted down from their own individual warming up of their instruments, the same sounds you hear before a grand performance.

"Now we're going to play this in B flat scale - let's go," said Unverzagt as he began to extend his baton up in the air.

Keeping perfect timing, he then lowered the baton and with his other hand signaled the trumpet players to play a little quieter so the sounds of the flutes would not be muffled.

At one point, the conductor stopped and raised his voice and said, "Hey, you're blowing your guts out, a little quieter ..."

This is the perfect lingo you hear from any band director or maestro who wants to make sure all the performers and their instruments blend in together, according to the scores of music in front of them.

"That's what we need," Hostetler said this week.



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