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Free spring concert this Sunday in DL

Community Band Director Gene Gaffney leads 46 musicians from 15 area communities. SUBMITTED PHOTO

The Lakes Area Community Concert Band will present its 8th Annual Spring Concert this Sunday, April 27 at 4 p.m., on the stage of Detroit Lakes’ Historic Holmes Theatre.

The group, which formed in 2006, now numbers 46, drawing its membership from throughout the lakes area.

“Though a number of them are from Detroit Lakes, they come from 15 different communities in all,” said band director Gene Gaffney.

The age range is just as varied, he added, noting that there is one member who is in the ninth grade, while others are in their late 70s and early 80s.

“It has been nice playing with mostly the same musicians over the last eight years,” said band manager Rick Olson, who also plays clarinet with the ensemble.

“We are able to bring out more of the passion and dynamics in the music — although it also helps to have Gene Gaffney at the helm. With all of his expertise, he can bring out the best, or least almost the best in all of us.

“Last month the Lakes Area Community Concert Band was privileged to be asked by Heather Trowbridge and Paul Dierkhising to be a part of the 50th Annual All-City Band Festival,” Olson added. “It was a real treat for past DLHS band students like me to be able to participate; the last All-City I participated in was in 1977. All the members had a great time.”

Sunday’s concert will include everything from Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “Festival Coronation March” to the “George Washington Bicentennial March” by John Philip Sousa.

“We’ve got to have a Sousa march,” Gaffney joked.

The Tchaikovsky piece, meanwhile, was originally written for the coronation of Alexander the Great as tsar of Russia, and “is very seldom played.”

But the piece came to Gaffney’s attention when it was played at both the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Socchi, Russia.

“It was fun to hear that,” he said.

One of the more light-hearted selections will be music from the Broadway musical “Carousel,” written by Richard Rodgers.

“Our ‘barn burner’ for this concert, the most difficult piece, is ‘Jericho Rhapsody by Morton Gould,’” Gaffney said. “That’s a very exciting piece, and we’re really showing off our trumpets… they have a lot of dazzling things to play in that number.”

Though Gaffney usually selects the music for the fall, Christmas and spring concerts — which are the ones that he directs — he said one of the unusual things about this one is that three of the musical selections chosen were brought to his attention by band members.

One of them is the haunting “American Elegy,” by Frank Ticheli, a contemporary piece written following the Columbine massacre in 1999.

“It’s just a beautiful, moving piece, full of emotions,” Gaffney said.

There is no charge for admission to Sunday’s concert, but a free will offering will be taken to help raise funds for the band’s ongoing expenses.

“We also continue to raise funds to help keep the band going by having a Director/Chair Sponsorship program,” said Olson.

“An individual or group can sponsor the Director (Gene Gaffney) for $250 or an individual chair/member for $100 for a one year period. It has been a very popular way to help support the band.”

For more information about the Lakes Area Community Concert Band, 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