Alesia Band celebrates 100th year with free concert Sunday


PARTICIPATE IN A centennial musical event Sunday. All you'll need is a lawn chair or blanket.

At 6 p.m. Sunday, the Alesia Band celebrates its 100th year as a community band with a free concert in the band shell at Manchester Carnival Grounds off York Street. If it rains, the band will play inside the adjacent activities building.

"We're giving this concert to the community," said Francis Staley, director for the past 21 years. The free concert is a scheduling squeeze for the band.

With a reputation built over 100 years of community concerts and strawberry festivals, the band has every weekend penciled in.

Strawberry festivals and the Alesia Band seem to go hand in hand. For instance, on Saturday, the Alesia Band will open its concert season at the Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church strawberry festival, playing from 3: 30 p.m. to 6: 30 p.m. at the church, 1372 Bachman Valley Road.

On June 13, it will play from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. for the strawberry festival at St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, 827 Leisters Church Road. The band will play at another strawberry festival from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. June 20 for Linwood Brethren Church, 575 McKinstrys Mill Road.

In our area, generation after generation has remained enthusiastic about listening to band musicians who strike up familiar melodies of John Philip Sousa, George Gershwin and Irving Berlin.

More than one local community band like this one has flourished through its centennial year. The Yellow Springs Band of Frederick County dates to at least 112 years ago, the Brodbecks, Pa., town band has celebrated its 110th anniversary and, in Carroll County, the Westminster Municipal Band has played parades and concerts beyond the 100-year mark, too.

Outdoor band-playing became possible in the early 1800s, after German instrument makers succeeded in developing newer instruments that created a more full-bodied sound.

In our country, brass bands on both sides during the Civil War became important for public and military ceremonies. After the Civil War, Patrick S. Gilmore, bandmaster for the Union Army, assembled a band that became the U.S. Marine Band.

Gilmore's successor was Sousa, who had played in the Marine Band under Gilmore for 13 years. Sousa's distinctive American-style marches were so famous he became known as the "March King."

Perhaps it was the March King's most popular, "Stars and Stripes Forever," written in 1897, that inspired the Alesia Band to form in 1898.

Thirty band members assemble for weekly rehearsals before the summer schedule of weekend concerts. On Sunday, Staley will lead them in favorite selections written by Berlin, George M. Cohan, a polka or two, and more than one Sousa march.

Information: 410-374-5117.

Envirothon team to compete

Can you determine the age of a deer by only its jawbone? Could you identify county soil types and economic uses for them? Could you create a topographic map of a streambed?

The Envirothon team, forestry and wildlife management students from North Carroll High, enjoy preparing for the challenge of environmental questions like these.

Several weeks ago, Josh Spicer, 16; David Guinto, 16; Heather Graf, 16; Bobby Niner, 18; and Matt Long, 16, went head to head with teams from every county high school and returned triumphant first-place winners to North Carroll.

An envirothon match begins with a packet of research materials for home study, followed by two days of hands-on testing in the areas of forestry management, watershed management, soils classification and usage, wildlife management and aquatic resources.

For some questions, team members turn environmental sleuth. For example, they might be asked to determine the name and age of a bird from a set of feathers.

For other questions, they become aquatic scientists.

"We might be asked what affects a certain body of water through stream runoff," said Josh. They might be given infrared aerial photographs to help determine an answer. They'll also identify aquatic plant and animal life.

As the first place team from Carroll County, the North Carroll team meets teams from other counties at the state match June 18-20 in Montgomery County.

Sea Lions swim team

Some children shed clothes in favor of swimwear as soon as summer heat hits and only surface from the pool when hunger strikes. The North Carroll Sea Lions Swim Team seeks such children for its second summer season.

Practice times are four evenings from Monday through Thursday, with swim meets Saturdays. The team meets at the Lineboro-Manchester Lion's Club pool, at Christmas Tree Park in Manchester.

About 50 children are swimming on the team. Ages for team members range from 6 to 18.

The first practice was held Monday. Information: Dan Bressler, 410-239- 3870.

Pat Brodowski's North neighborhood column appears each Wednesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

Pub Date: 6/03/98

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