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A musical celebration Lehighton, Palmerton bands combine for Sunday concert

Marches, show tunes, military selections and story tunes were all included in a 90-minute band concert on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon in the tree-lined Lehighton Park Amphitheater.

The Lehighton Band and the Palmerton Band combined to present an outdoor event attended by about 100 people, with both the musicians and attendees generally self-distancing.

The musicians from the two bands intermingled in the amphitheater with the first half of the concert conducted by Brad Cressley, conductor of the Lehighton Band, and the second half conducted by Joseph Plechavy of the Palmerton Band.

This is the second year the two bands combined for a concert. Last year the event was held in the Palmerton Park gazebo.

Cressley said it was moved to the Lehighton amphitheater this year because the gazebo was too small for social distancing.

He said of last year’s event, “The concert was well-received in Palmerton’s beautiful park and the band crammed into their centerpiece gazebo-style band stand.

“At that time, we had no idea that the next time we would play together in Lehighton’s amphitheater we would be social distanced.”

He said both bands have been practicing the concert songs separately, socially distanced and outdoors.

The concert opened with the national anthem and closed with “Stars and Stripes Forever.” In between was a potpourri of selections.

Music from “Wicked” was performed. “American Flourish” was a medley of “Yankee Doodle,” “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” and “Shenandoah.”

A trio of songs from “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” was played, which included “Won’t You Be My Neighbor,” “It’s You I Like,” and “It’s Such a Good Feeling.” Plechavy said that all three songs were written by Fred Rogers.

“Agua’s Whelm” was the story about a Central American village destroyed following an earthquake in 1541.

A selection which meant a lot to many of the band members was “Afterlife” by Rossano Galante. Cressley said this was donated to the band by the late Paul R. Smith, who directed the band for a half century until his death in 2016. He said, “The band dedicates the performance of this piece to his memory.”

Both the band and the audience consisted of people of all ages. The band included people from teenage to senior citizen.

The weather proved ideal, hovering in the 60s with the only complaint being by band members who had trouble keeping the music on their stands because of a sometimes brisk breeze.

The Lehighton Band and The Palmerton Band combine for a concert in the Lehighton Park Amphitheater on Sunday. RON GOWER/TIMES NEWS
Marches, show tunes and a variety of other selections were part of a concert on Sunday in Lehighton by the combined Lehighton Band and Palmerton Band.