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Lehighton Boys and Girls Band names director

The Lehighton Boys and Girls Band has named a new director to guide it into the future.

Bradly R. Cressley has been named to the position, according to Tom Zimmerman, president of the Lehighton Boys and Girls Band.

Cressley’s appointment comes after former director Alyssa Schoch stepped down from the position because she started a new fulltime position that requires more of her time.

Schoch had been the director of the band since 2016.

The Lehighton Boys and Girls Band has been in existence for 114 years.

Cressley is a lifelong resident of Lehighton, and a graduate of Lehighton Area High School and Penn State University.

He is the music teacher at St. Jerome Regional School in Tamaqua, where he recently started an intermediate school hand which now boasts 43 members after just two years.

Cressley is also the director of music at Zion UCC in Lehighton, the director of Zion Opera Workshop and the Lehighton Band.

“Music pretty much touches every part of my life,” Cressley said.

Cressley also owns Carbon County Music and More, which has now relocated to the Boys and Girls Band Hall where students can now easily obtain supplies and music at the same location where their lessons occur.

He had a slate of private students which upon his hiring became members of the Lehighton Boys and Girls Band. Currently 37 students are registered at the band hall.

Both private lessons and group lessons are offered at the band hall. In addition to the lessons, students are encouraged to attend band practice which happen every Monday from 4-5 p.m.

The band is currently working on holiday music which will be presented at a free concert with a date still to be set in December.

“I’m really excited to be working with this group of musicians,” Cressley said. “We have a very varied group of students in terms of experience and abilities and we’ve already been having a lot of fun working together. It’s my goal to incorporate music that caters to the different levels of the students.”

Hours for lessons have been expanded to accommodate the increase in students. Lessons are given Monday through Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings as well. Lesson spots are filling up quickly but group lessons are always an option. “Sometimes putting students together in a lesson group can be encouraging to the students,” he said. “My philosophy on music education is that it has to be fun for the student. There is a lot that goes in to becoming a great musician, but the practice and preparation has to be a fun endeavor.

“I try to find ways to make practicing enjoyable. As every student is different I try to cater to their likes and needs. If it means writing out a favorite song to learn, that’s what I do.”

Cressley himself was a “graduate” of the Lehighton Boys and Girls Band. He was a member back in the early 1980s when the band changed from the Lehighton Boys Band to the Boys and Girls Band, and credits his musical abilities to what he learned there.

“Mel Hill taught me the basics of playing and upon his retirement, Ken Leffler taught me the intricacies of clarinet. Ken helped me make district band in my senior year.” Cressley said.

Now, Cressley enjoys helping advanced students prepare for district band auditions.

Cressley has been married to Beth (Smith) Cressley for 33 years and they are the parents of Laura Reichard, married to Adam Reichard and Brandon Cressley, married to Eliza (Asmann) Cressley. Laura, Brandon and Adam are all alumni of the Boys and Girls Band and Beth and Eliza are also musicians.

“Music is a big part of my family,” Cressley says.

Cressley hopes that enrollment at the band hall will continue to grow.

Anyone interested in learning more about the Boys and Girls Band, call 610-377-1860 for more details.

The band hall is also available to rent for parties and events.

Tom Zimmerman (center), president of the board of directors of the Lehighton Boys and Girls Band, thanks former director Alyssa Schoch (left) for her years of service as director, and welcomes Brad Cressley (right) as the new director. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO