Lehigh Acres' only concert band will perform its next concert on Feb. 16 at 3 p.m. in the annex of Faith Lutheran Church at 705 Leeland Heights Blvd. The band, under the direction of John Monachan, performs on the third Sunday of each month from November through April and is composed of 25 members who rehearse weekly.
The concerts are free but at the end of the performance, donations are accepted, Monachan said.
"We have a great group of men and women in Lehigh who are great musicians and they work hard to put on great concerts to entertain the people who attend, not only from Lehigh, but from other areas of the county.
Each month, there is a central theme for the concert and the concert this month overall theme is "Theme of Love." Monachan said there will be many well-known love songs performed musically including tunes such as Fly me over the Moon.
"Our February concert should have great appeal to the whole family and especially those who enjoy some of the greatest love songs ever written," Monachan said.
He is a native of Canada and served 39 years in the armed forces bands and retired in 2010 so he could enjoy the winters in Southwest Florida. He also plays two instruments, the trombone and the euphonium. His wife, Eva Neumayer plays the flute,. They have four grown children and one has a degree in teaching and music.
Monachan also said the band is looking and recruiting additional members. "Anyone who has played in a high school or college band or in any other type of band and has the knowledge to play professionally is invited to join us at our rehearsals on Tuesday nights at 7 at Faith Lutheran Church. Just come and listen to us and if you like what we're doing, volunteer to become a member," he said. "We especially need clarinet and low brass players."
"I really want Lehigh to realize that we have great talent here and there is an opportunity for everyone to join and are inviting musicians to be part of our group," Monahan said
The Lehigh Concert Band performs at events in Lehigh and at other venues in the county. It performed at the Fall Festival a few months ago at St. Raphael's Church on Lee Blvd. It also performs at the Lehigh Spring Festival in March. And it puts on performances at churches and retirement homes as a full concert band or in small groups.
The band began performing in 1979 and people like Sally Rock, who plays tenor sax, started performing when the band began. She plays tenor sax and is the longest serving member.
Eve Neumayer is the senior member and plays in several community bands as well as swims laps at the Lehigh Community Pool almost every day. Some members plays in other concert bands in the county.
Among the members of the Lehigh Concert Band is the "Lehigh Brass Group" which will perform Wien Bleibt Wien at this month's concert.
The group consists of Monahan, Bryce Orlin, Christian Foerschner, George Unverzagt and Carol Ploof.
"We want everyone to enjoy our performances. Our performances are planned to satisfy the pleasure of all concert band fans," Monahan said.
A Christmas concert was performed on Dec.15 and featured some of the well-known tunes of the season. It also performed German Christmas Festival and festive sounds of Hanukah. The large group that attended also participated in a sing along.
The January concert, just recently held featured some great Broadway show tunes. Next month, the concert will surely feature music about St. Patrick's Day. And for the final concert in April, Monahan said they plan to do a Boston Pops type format outside at Veterans Park on Homestead Rd.
Monahan has even prepared a website that promotes the Lehigh Concert Band.
On the Internet, go to: www.lehighconcertband.org/about.html.
Mark your calendars for the February concert. Afterwards is a good time for a Sunday out dinner and Monahan wants everyone to remember they are looking for new members and want to increase the size of the band to 40.
If you know someone who has been a musician in the past or who can play a musical instrument, band members hope you will guide them to the concerts and to the rehearsals.
"It's a great way to meet new people and really enjoy yourself as a member," Monahan said.
"Everyone of one of band members are playing because they have a passion for music and enjoy performing to offer enjoyment to others," Monahan said.