Hillcrest Concert Band brings worldly program to Amp


Hillcrest Concert Band. Submitted photo.

Mary Lee Talbot | Staff Writer

The Hillcrest Concert Band comes to Chautauqua for the final Sunday afternoon concert of the 2011 Season.

At 2:30 p.m. Sunday in the Amphitheater, the theme of “International Intrigue … Music From Around the World” will be conducted by music director Paul Lawrence.

The Hillcrest Concert Band was founded in 1956 as a summer music experience. The name Hillcrest came from the telephone exchange of South Euclid and Lyndhurst, Ohio, communities near Cleveland.

As an adult community band, Hillcrest has given more than 1,300 performances around the world. French hornist Martha Custer wrote a history of the band titled “Fifty Years Young, and Still Going Strong.”

The band has produced several CDs, including a two-CD set of historic recordings, “A Musical Anniversary of the Hillcrest Concert Band,” produced by president Richard Howard.

Lawrence has conducted the band since 1986. A graduate of Baldwin-Wallace College and Ohio State University, Lawrence is retired from the Bedford, Ohio City Schools.

While he was a student at Baldwin-Wallace, he formed a jazz group, “Jazz at the Conservatory,” the second jazz group on a college campus in the United States.

He joined the Hillcrest Band as a percussionist in 1978 and was asked to be guest conductor, assistant conductor and then conductor.

Lawrence has led the band on four international tours: Czech Republic, Austria and Germany in 1996; Australia and New Zealand in 1999; Alaska and Vancouver in 2002; and the British Isles to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the band in 2005.

In 2008, the band toured Washington, D.C., and New York City, performing at Carnegie Hall.