Cumberland concert band celebrates 3 years of community

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CUMBERLAND — Old and young, near and far, experienced and green, woodwinds and strings – they come together as one in the Cumberland Community Concert Band.

Formed three years ago, the concert band next will next entertain music lovers on the Greely High School lawn at 7 p.m. Monday, June 18.

The “concert in the park” – to which audience members are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, desserts and friends – will feature patriotic marches by John Philip Sousa, a medley from “West Side Story” in honor of composer Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday, and music from the more recent film “La La Land.” Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” could make an appearance, too.

Although Cumberland is in its name, the band’s approximately 45 members come from various Maine communities, conductor Mike Perfetti said in an interview Monday. One member lives in Kennebunk and northern Maine, but still makes rehearsals. Several also come from Bath.

Players age in range from 11 to 90. with a myriad of experience levels. There’s a professional who plays trombone, baritone sax, French horn and all percussion; a woman who didn’t play anything until her 60s, and another who would bring her son to practice and ended up getting roped into joining the percussion section when another set of hands was needed, Perfetti said.

“We have a ton of fun,” he added.

Some haven’t played their instrument in decades, but show up to play and, similar to riding a bicycle, tap back into that long-dormant ability.

Along with the Greely concert and a recent Memorial Day performance in Cumberland, the band will take the North Yarmouth Academy stage at the Yarmouth Clam Festival, on Sunday, July 22, at 4 p.m. It will reconvene in the fall to prepare for its holiday concert.

“We like to keep it local … everybody’s busy,” Perfetti said. But he’d like to include an outdoor concert in North Yarmouth and Yarmouth, noting, “we could add a few gigs and still be reasonable.”

Perfetti studied clarinet in college, but now focuses most of his time preparing the band.

“We started on a lark,” he said, recalling his reluctance in spearheading the effort.

A few years ago, he’d been encouraging band leaders at Greely Middle School to start a community band. They, in turn, nudged him to do so instead, but Perfetti said he lacked the time. Perfetti was asked to get up at an all-district concert and plug the idea, but reiterated his lack of time, having just started a family and gone into business with his wife.

“It’s a good idea, but not right now,” he said at the time, only to learn his name had already been included in the program. “So I was like, ‘OK,’ and I got up, I gave a talk.”

The idea caught on, the numbers quickly grew, and the rest is history.

The band continues to welcome new members. It accepts all band instruments, although it’s in particular need of woodwinds and some percussionists. Those interested in joining can email cumberlandcommunityband@gmail.com.

“It really is now this community organization, where we have a steering committee and we have shape to it,” Perfetti said.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

Mike Perfetti, left, conducts a Cumberland Community Concert Band rehearsal at Greely High School on June 11. The band will perform on the school lawn Monday, June 18.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.