Watson, 88, who was a longtime member of the band and assistant conductor, moved into
About 30 members of the band -- and former members -- decided to make the trip to
Watson emerged from the nursing home with a walker shortly before the performance began about
After sitting and listening to the band perform five numbers, Watson slowly strode to the front, a baton in his hand, and stood erect in front of a music stand where conductor 'Chip' Farnham had led. With a few crisp flourishes, the band followed him as he began leading them in a performance of "Old Comrades."
Asked after the program if he missed being part of the band, he replied, "Sure. Darn right." He missed "all the people and the players," added Watson, an
"It was an honor," said Watson, for the band to travel to
As he sat listening to the band perform, his head at times moved in cadence with the music, and sometimes he moved both hands as if conducting from his seat.
Watson, a retired music educator, was a member of the
"He loves music and respects good music, musicians, composers, and conductors," Wingo said Friday. "He would often regale us with stories from his younger days and those musicians with whom he had a chance to work with."
Watson, a native of
Watson was particularly interested in getting others involved in the band, according to Wyman: young adults. "He always liked to bring young people and get them interested," she recalled.
"He always believed in new blood," added Wyman. "You've got to nurture it with young people."
Farnham has only been the conductor of the
"We had a very cordial relationship," recalled Farnham. "He was a wonderful teacher. I really enjoyed working with him."
Watson was educated at the
"He's just a real sweetheart," said Wyman, who described Watson as "always kind, gentle," and willing to fill in where needed.
"His love of music and his love of the band was the biggest thing in his life other than his children," said Wyman.
(c)2014 the Bangor Daily News (Bangor, Maine)
Visit the Bangor Daily News (Bangor, Maine) at www.bangordailynews.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services