News Column

Brass band Spires Brass Band marks 20th year with Thurmont concert

June 23, 2014

By Ed Waters Jr., The Frederick News-Post, Md.

June 23--It was a beautiful Sunday evening that was perfect to sit in the shade and enjoy good music.

That's what about 75 people did at Thurmont Memorial Park as the Spires Brass Band, which has been performing for two decades, played popular and patriotic music.

John Slezak, director, formed the award-winning band to bring area musicians together to share their skills.

"I saw a marching band go by my house as a child and was fascinated by the trumpet," Slezak said as band members got into place Sunday evening.

The band practices every Tuesday at Monocacy Middle School. Nick Sandifer, who plays coronet, said he missed three practices while he was on vacation.

"I'm sitting this one out," he said. "But I did bring my things in case they needed me."

A resident of Washington, Sandifer was a musician during a career in both the Army and Navy.

Players in the band come from Baltimore, Germantown, Leesburg and Fairfax, Virginia, and locally.

"People know what kind of musicians we need and know when a spot has to be filled," Slezak said. The band has 34 members.

Besides formal concerts at Frederick Community College -- complete with tuxedos -- the band plays festivals and town concerts such as the one in Thurmont.

"We do six or seven concerts a year," Slezak said.

The band's appearance was coordinated by Town Commissioner Wayne Hooper, who introduced the band and commented on the fair weather for the event.

"It is a great thing for a small town. Everyone can enjoy it," said Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird as he listened to the band.

In the past 20 years, the band has performed on the "Today" show, won five championships from the North American Brass Band Association and has performed for the Maryland Music Educators Annual State Conference in Baltimore.

The band also performed the dramatic oratorio "For The People" to commemorate the Lincoln bicentennial at Gettysburg College in 2009 and has performed the oratorio several times since in Gettysburg and Frederick.


(c)2014 The Frederick News-Post (Frederick, Md.)

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Source: Frederick News-Post (MD)

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