Weather Forecast


Community Band set to perform Saturday

It’s been eight years since the Lakes Area Community Concert Band held its first fall concert, and the talented group is still going strong — in fact, according to its director, the band is doing better than ever.

“The band numbers 48 now — it’s one of the largest groups we’ve had,” Gene Gaffney said.

This year’s fall concert is set to take place at 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23 inside the Historic Holmes Theatre — and though Veteran’s Day festivities concluded more than a week ago, the band still wanted to find a way to honor the area’s Armed Forces veterans.

So the second half of Saturday’s concert will be highlighted by a tribute “to all military servicemen past and present,” Gaffney said.

As part of that tribute, the band will be joined by a new 40-voice community choir, under the direction of Lori Paakh, for three separate musical numbers.

“Several weeks ago, I contacted Gene regarding the need to borrow multiple copies of choral music for the newly reorganized community choir, Lakes Area Chorale, which I’m coordinating,” Paakh said. “After he told me where the music was being stored, he told me that three of his fall band concert pieces called for a choir, and asked me if I’d be interested in coordinating and directing it. Of course, I said, ‘Yes!’

“I am very excited about being a part of this concert for two reasons: Because it’s a tribute to our veterans and because I am an advocate of the arts,” Paakh continued. “We, as a nation, can never thank our veterans enough, and I feel very privileged to be a part of the concert because of this. I also know that the arts connect communities through the participants, or singers in this case, that become friends, that form partnerships that are far reaching. The arts are a unique vehicle to participate in and entertain audiences! I also thought directing this choir would help launch the Lakes Area Chorale.”

Paakh is hoping that the members of the Veterans Tribute Chorale that will be a part of Sunday’s concert will want to continue to develop more adult choral singing opportunities in the community.

“I really want to get choral singing, for adults, back into our community again,” she said.

The choir will be joining the community band to perform John Williams’ “Hymn to the Fallen,” from the epic World War II movie “Saving Private Ryan,” and of course, the tried-and-true “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” Gaffney said.

In addition, the band will be performing a medley of Armed Forces service anthems, during which veterans of each branch of the military will be asked to stand and be recognized, he added.

Also, Gaffney said, “because this is the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, we’re going to begin the second half of the concert with a number by Aaron Copland called “Lincoln Tribute. It has a narrative component, so Jeff Johnson will be our narrator. It’s very stirring, and beautifully written.”

Though there is no admission fee to attend Saturday’s concert, free will donations will be gratefully accepted, to help defer ongoing expenses for the community band.

The band holds rehearsals every Thursday night at the Detroit Lakes High School band room, starting at 7 p.m., and all area musicians who are interested have an “open invitation” to join in the rehearsals, Gaffney said.

They will soon be starting rehearsals for the band’s annual Christmas concert, which is set for Saturday, Dec. 7 at First Lutheran Church in Detroit Lakes, starting at 4 p.m.

After that, Gaffney said, they will be taking a break until February, when they begin rehearsing for their spring concert in April.

For more information, please call band manager Rick Olson at 218-847-4281 or, or visit the band’s website online, at

Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454