Lehighton Boys and Girls Band celebrates centennial
The Lehighton Boys and Girls Band
The Lehighton Boys and Girls Band celebrated its 100th Anniversary with a concert on November 27, 2010, in the Lehighton Borough Annex Auditorium.
The Boys and Girls Band traces its roots to 1910 when the Engine Company No. 2 Band was founded. Several name changes followed: in 1911 the name changed to the Boys Band of Engine Company No. 2, in 1913 to the Lehighton Boys Band, and in 1981 to the present Lehighton Boys and Girls Band.
The Gala Anniversary Concert featured performances by the 2010 Lehighton Boys and Girls Band and an Alumni Band that included former members of both the Lehighton Boys Band and the Lehighton Boys and Girls Band.
Many musicians who received their start in music in the bands returned to share their talents with the present band and the large audience in attendance at the concert.
Special recognition was given to tuba player Ralph Schoch, who traveled the furthest (from Syracuse, NY) to perform with the Alumni Band.
The Lehighton Borough Annex was the perfect location for the concert as many of the returning alumni had performed in that auditorium before when the building served as the Lehighton High School and later as the Lehighton Junior High School. For some alumni it was the first they had been back in the auditorium since graduation.
Memories were an important part of the Alumni Band performance. Returning to direct the Alumni Band was Kenneth Leffler, director of the band from 1981 to 1983. Leffler was the director when the name was changed to the Lehighton Boys and Girls Band.
Also directing was Robert Fetterman, director of the band from 1995 to the present.
During the Alumni Band performance former member Henry Bisbing of Lehighton recounted his memories of being a member of the Lehighton Boys Band, ending his talk by donning the cape he wore as a member of the band in the 1940s.
Also bringing back memories was the large display of pictures and uniforms of the bands dating back to 1914.
In addition to the collection of pictures owned by the band, memorabilia brought to the concert for display included copies of newspaper clippings by alumni Ray Hontz, a program from the 1940s by alumni Henry Long, and a 1940s photo of Robert Benner in his band uniform by his daughter Brenda Benner.
Several families were recognized for having multiple generations performing with the combined bands. They included Henry Long and daughter Lora Krum, Clark Ritter and grandson Tyler Ritter, Duane Reichard and children Casi and Adam Reichard, and Paul Smith with son-in-law Brad Cressley and grandson Brandon Cressley
During the performance of the 2010 Lehighton Boys and Girls Band the Paul, Ruth and Tim David Volunteerism Award was presented to the Brian Ruch family. The award was named in honor of the Davids, who for many years, as officers on the Lehighton Boys and Girls Band Board of Directors, donated much time to the band. The award is presented to individuals who have gone above and beyond in giving their time and energy to support the mission of the Lehighton Boys and Girls Band.
The concert ended with the Alumni Band and the 2010 Boys and Girls Band performing the Lehighton Boys Band March, composed by Charles Kibler, director of the Lehighton Boys Band from 1932 to 1945. Following the march the audience and band members enjoyed refreshments as they socialized in the auditorium.