120 musicians from throughout Western Massachusetts and beyond came together in one giant concert band on Saturday June 17 at South Hadley High School. Hosted by the Amherst, Florence and South Hadley Community Bands, the Pioneer Valley Community Band was born!
The concert brought together amateur and professional musicians of all ages and abilities from throughout the region to celebrate and perform live instrumental music. With the inspiration of guest conductor Thomas Bergeron and guest soloist Ronald R. Smith, band members had the opportunity to share their musical skills, learn from their fellow musicians, and bring the joy of live music making to an enthusiastic audience.
Join us on October 7 at 1:30 PM in the sanctuary of Center Church for a reunion of this group when about 60 members from the original band will gather to reprise their previous performance.
Tom Bergeron, Director of Music at Deerfield Academy, will lead the festival band in a day of joyous music-making. Before coming to Deerfield, Mr. Bergeron held teaching positions at Williams College, Tufts University, Bennington College, Yale, Amherst College, and the Brimmer and May School. He is currently a member of the Atlantic Brass Quintet and the Principal Trumpet of the Springfield Symphony. Mr. Bergeron has performed with The American Symphony, The Temptations, T-Pain, Vampire Weekend, Idina Menzel, The Four Tops, Judy Collins, Arlo Guthrie, and numerous Broadway shows. His television appearances include Saturday Night Live, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and CBS This Morning. He spent two years in residence at Carnegie Hall with Juilliard’s Ensemble Connect and holds two advanced degrees from Yale, where he won the Woolsey Hall Concerto Competition and received the John Swallow Award for excellence in brass playing.
Bergeron commented, “It's really exciting to have so many people of all ages gathering to experience the joy of making music together. We've programmed a wide variety of music, from Sousa to Duke Ellington, Billie Eilish and Ray Charles. Personal highlights for me include music from Captain Marvel by the Emmy-nominated Turkish-American composer Pinar Toprak, and an original piece for concert band "Across A Golden Sky'' by American composer Quinn Mason, who was recently featured on the Springfield Symphony Orchestra concert in February.”
Ronald R. Smith
Saxophonist Ron Smith will be the featured guest soloist. A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Mr. Smith is the Director of Music Programs at the Northfield Mount Hermon School. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Music from Tennessee State University, along with degrees in Music Production & Engineering Studies from Berklee College of Music and Ethnomusicology Studies from Dartmouth College He was a semifinalist for Grammy Award Teacher of the Year and a John Pflug Teaching Fellow. Smith, who lives in Northampton, has performed with such artists as Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Brown, Billy Taylor, Nat Adderley, Wynton Marsalis, B.B. King, Paul Winter, Samirah Evans, and Evelyn Harris to name a few.