Harold J. Crosby Band Camp, 2017

The leaves are changing colors here in Dexter, Maine, and fall comes with its own music, “music ringing through the autumn magic that is Dexter.” To add to that magic and music, the Carl R. Cuthbert Community Band Foundation again sponsored the Harold J. Crosby Band Camp, September 15-17, 2017.

The Harold J. Crosby Band Camp, 2017, follows on the success of its inaugural year in 2016, “celebrating the music of Maine composers and arrangers.” The arrangers and composers selected for 2017 were Dexter native Harold Josiah Crosby, Heywood S. Jones, and this year’s guest conductor Ed Madden. The camp consisted of musicians from across the state and the nation who rehearsed for four sessions and concluded with a free public concert.

The camp convened on Friday evening to run through the dozen pieces selected for Band Camp, 2017, to include three original compositions by Ed Madden: Kindersong, Victor Herbert, and Diamond Jubilee-Spirit of the Yankee Division. These pieces presented a challenge to the band, but under Ed’s direction and tutelage, the band rose to the challenge and played the music as he intended it to be played by a New Horizons community band with minimal practice. He applauded the group’s camaraderie and abilities, and reminded the band members that the fun of playing was playing well, playing musically, and playing together.

The band also played several selections by the camp’s namesake, Harold J. Crosby. These regimental marches, written during World War I, reflected the patriotism of the time period. One piece, Battleship California, was commissioned specifically by the United States Navy. Other marches the band played were For the Freedom of the World, Landing of the Troops, and Queen of the Fleet. At the end of the camp, these marches were made available to the community bands represented by the band members who attended. The marches are also available for purchase through the Carl R. Cuthbert Community Band Foundation and can be tailored for the size, abilities, and composition of the band.

The program was rounded out by two compositions by Heywood S. Jones, a lesser known Maine composer: Music Camp, which pays honor to a second, more established music camp in Maine, and a novelty piece called The Honeymoon Express, combining the thrill of a honeymoon train trip with the potential “disaster” that could ensue.

The band camp culminated in a free public concert on Sunday afternoon, September 17, 2017, in Dexter combining the efforts of Ed Madden and Harold J. Crosby Community Band director Dr. Earl R. Lord. The concert was well-attended by the community, who throughout the band camp had lent their support through meals, lodging, and donations to fund the camp, for the Foundation prides itself on not charging anyone to attend band camp: “NO ONE will be refused registration for any monetary reasons-we believe in sharing.” This year, too, the band camp was recognized by the Governor of Maine, Paul R. LePage, for its efforts to celebrate and promote the composers and arrangers of Maine, a well-deserved honor.

And now, everyone has returned home, renewed and regenerated and a little bit tired, celebrating another successful year of the Harold J. Crosby Band Camp. As one camper put it, “I never cease to be amazed at the magic of strangers coming together to read black marks on a page and making them into music.” And even now, the Cuthbert Foundation begins work on the 2018 version of the Harold J. Crosby Band Camp. The Foundation hopes many of you will join the band camp in Dexter, Maine, in September 2018, for another season of the “autumn magic that is Dexter.”