The American Legion Band of the Tonawandas may have performed all over the nation and even in several international venues, but for some reason it can’t stay away from Chautauqua.
As the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra begins its 2014 season, the hope is that it represents an ending as well. Over the course of a season chock-full of sterling soloists and contemporary classics, all eyes will be on the eight guest conductors vying to become the ninth music director of the CSO.
It’s summer, and there is not a more perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon than at a band concert. And what band could be more perfect for the first Sunday Amphitheater performance than the American Legion Band of the Tonawandas? The prize-winning band will perform at 2:30 p.m. Sunday in the Amphitheater.
The concert band won first place in the 2012 American Legion National Convention’s senior band competition, held in Indianapolis. The band has released five DVDs, which include performances of “March Masterpieces,” “Let’s Dance!,” “The Spirit of Liberty” and “Showtime!” The group also released a special DVD and booklet in 2004 for its 75th anniversary.
The band, originally known as Sons of the Legion, was organized in 1929 by American Legion Post 264 members. By the mid-1930s, the group was winning state competitions. The band took a break during World War II but was able to expand after the war because of the increased number of eligible members. Women were officially admitted to band membership in 1974.
On Sunday at 2:30 p.m., the Amphitheater will resound with American favorites as the American Legion Band of the Tonawandas, Post 264, performs its technically challenging and crowd-rousing marches, dances and show tunes.
The American Legion Band will play patriotic songs to start the Fourth of July celebrations, and display the breadth of their repertoire with classics from Gershwin and Tchaikovsky.
“We try to program for family entertainment,” said David Abrahamian, the band’s president.
There will be a little something for everyone.
The American Legion Band of the Tonawandas, Post 264, will perform at 2:30 p.m. Sunday in the Amphitheater. The award-winning concert band, established in 1929, draws its membership from various musicians in western New York.
“(Chautauquans will) get a chance to hear a band that is a special band, really,” said Jim Scott, personnel manager and 50-year member of the band. “We have a handful of professional musicians, and we have some good band music that you’re never going to hear from any other band at Chautauqua.”