By SHERIDAN CYR
The town’s very own local community band, the Plainville Wind Ensemble, is celebrating 30 years of history this year, and recently was picked to perform at the American Concert Band National Convention in Buffalo, New York.
What began as a small gathering of 14 musicians who just wanted to play a few tunes has grown to accommodate 78 amateur and professional musicians from across the state of Connecticut.
“Year after year, we just kept growing with our style and our grade of music, and that has attracted musicians from all over,” explained executive director Kathleen Marsan. “Getting involved with the band not only gives band members a fun, social place to be — it’s also an educational process. We’re always learning new concepts, and each musician improves each week.”
The ensemble is a nonprofit organization. All of their concerts are free, and what’s more, they all benefit another organization. In the past, they have supported the Lions Club Low Vision project, Literary Volunteers of Connecticut, Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, Reading Well for Kids, the local Food Pantry, Plainville Animal Control, and the Marine Corps “Toys for Tots.”
Concerts typically see anywhere from 200 to 600 audience members. The group has played in numerous venues including Lake Compounce in Bristol, Walnut Hill Park in New Britain, Southington Off the Green, Bristol Mum Concert, Plymouth Green, Westfield Works Wonders Night, Trinity on Main performance center in New Britain, Lake George in Shepard Park for Festival of Bands in New York, just to name a few.
The “Toys for Tots” project hits close to home for many in the ensemble. For the last 12 years, the band has performed a Veterans Day concert at Central Connecticut State University through the school’s Veterans Affair Department, which kicks off the collection. The concert, again, is free, but they strongly encourage a gift donation to “Toys for Tots.”
“That concert is special for the musicians, because they get to play and share their music, and give back to the community at the same time,” said Marsan.
The ensemble is thrilled to be a performer at the American Concert Band National Convention in May of 2018. “Out of around 200 submissions from across the nation, we were one of six picked to perform, and the only one from Connecticut,” said Marsan, “so we are so excited to represent both the state and our town.”
They hope to play two pieces at the convention: a piece by a national conductor, Robert Smith, who will be working with them at the convention, and a commemorative piece by Scott Perkins written for the ensemble specifically.
The ensemble is always happy to accept newcomers and continue to grow. There is no audition, nor entry fee, to join. The only requirement is that you are able to play a concert instrument, and that you have your own instrument. One yearly fee of $25 is required to be paid to the Plainville Parks Department as the ensemble operates under their wings.
Information on joining the band, on their concert schedule, and more, can be found on their website, www.plainvillewindensemble.com. They are also on Facebook, Twitter (@PlainvilleWind) and YouTube.