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Neighbors: Memories of high school band days linger


I did an interview with the band director at Pioneer Valley Regional School and some of his students on Monday morning and it brought back a lot of good memories.

The school’s marching band has been invited to perform during halftime at a Celtics game in Boston this season and its members couldn’t be more excited. (See the next item for more information.)

As most of you know, I graduated from Turners Falls High School in 1976. What you might not know is that I was a member of its concert, marching and jazz bands and was drum major my senior year. I played the tenor saxophone.

I didn’t join the high school band until my sophomore year. I hadn’t really thought about it until then and don’t remember why I decided to take private lessons the summer between freshman and sophomore years, but it ended up being one of the smartest and best things I had ever done to that point.

Being in band was like having a second family. To many we were known as “band geeks,” but to each other we were close friends who developed tight bonds.

Like sports and other high school activities, being in band gave direction and purpose to teens who were trying to figure out where they fit.

As a member of the bands, I got to do some traveling, compete and perform with the All Western Massachusetts District Band.

I will never forget that time or the people who became part of my life for at least those three years — some of us lost track of each other or only see each other on rare occasions. We shared something that no one and no amount of time will ever change.

I’m sure I’ll try to give grandson Justin a little nudge when the time is right — he seems to really love music, so maybe I won’t have to nudge too hard — and when Owen and Travis are old enough, I’ll introduce them to the universal language of music as well.

But for now, the three will have to suffer through Grandma’s rendition of “Itsy Bitsy Spider.”

THE PIONEER VALLEY REGIONAL SCHOOL MARCHING BAND will perform on the TD Garden court during the Celtics game halftime show.

According to Director Nathan Holesovsky, the Marching Panthers will put on an exciting show that will include “I’m Shipping Up to Boston,” the recently popular “Party Rock Anthem,” Mighty Mighty Bosstones’ “The Impressions That I Get,” and a couple of other numbers.

Holesovsky said the band will be holding some fundraisers, including a raffle, to defray the cost to students of getting there.

The raffle prize is two seats at the Celtics-Rockets game and two coach seats on the bus — a $300 value.

Tickets are $5 each or six for $25. The winner will be drawn on Dec. 20.

The band is also looking for local businesses and individuals to sponsor the trip.

For more information, email: pantherceltics@hotmail.com.

A WOMAN WHO LIVES AT THE MILLHOUSE in Greenfield called me to tell me she has a lot of extra yarn she’d like to give to someone who might want to use it to make hats, mittens and scarves for Warm the Children.

Jean said she has all different colors and you can call her at 413-773-7962.

THE GREENFIELD HIGH SCHOOL ALUMNI ASSOCIATION will hold its annual All Alumni Nite on Friday at 7 p.m. at Taylor’s Sport Bar on Main Street in Greenfield.

Go alumni and gather with your former classmates to share memories and discuss future plans for the high school. Maybe you can reminisce about your time in the band or on the football or softball fields.

THE CATAMOUNT ASSOCIATION BOOK COMMITTEE will hold a DVD slide show created By Ed Gregory on Monday at 6:30 p.m. at Greenfield Cooperative Bank in Shelburne Falls.

“Crossing Catamount” will include scenes along the roads of Catamount — the lake, the caves and the monument.

The slide show will also include photos of the commemoration of the 200th anniversary May 5 of the nation’s first raising of an American flag over a public schoolhouse.

THE GREENFIELD EMBLEM CLUB of the Greenfield Lodge of Elks has donated 65 frozen turkeys, with support from Food City in Turners Falls, to the Survival Center in Turners Falls, so that needy Franklin County families may enjoy Thanksgiving.

The club has done this every year for the past 17 years.

THE GREENFIELD TAE KWON DO BREAK-ATHON will be held Saturday on Federal Street at the center. Proceeds from the event will go to Warm the Children.

If asked, please sponsor a participant and help keep a local child warm. My grand-nephew Thaddeus will be breaking boards and he is so excited to help other children.

THE MONTAGUE ELKS LODGE #2521 at 1 Elks Ave. in Turners Falls will offer a free Thanksgiving dinner, with all the traditional fixings, on Thursday from noon to 3 p.m. to anyone who is interested.

Please call by today at noon to register at either 413-863-9357, 413-863-9549, or 413-423-3436.

Have a very happy Thanksgiving everyone, and I’ll see you Friday.

To contact Anita Fritz, a staff reporter at The Recorder, send an email to anita.alice.fritz@gmail.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 280 or her cell at 413-388-6950. You can also reach her on Facebook at Anita’s Neighbors. Information to be included in Neighbors may also be sent to: neighbors@recorder.com the day before you want it to run.

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