50 years of sweet sounds: Naples Concert Band marks half century with own music, Artis—Naples date

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The Naples Concert Band decided to pull out the stops and commission a musical work for its 50th anniversary concert later this season. But this is a band that knows how to pull out stops:

Harris Lanzel, the music director and conductor of the Naples Concert Band, practices during the band’s rehearsal, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Naples, Fla.Naples Concert Band celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2021 and their first concert of the year is on Sunday, Oct. 17, at the Cambier Park Bandshell in Naples, Fla. Shirley Mann plays the trumpet during the Naples Concert Band’s rehearsal, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Naples, Fla.Naples Concert Band celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2021 and their first concert of the year is on Sunday, Oct. 17, at the Cambier Park Bandshell in Naples, Fla. The Peterson AutoStrobe™ 590 Strobe Tuner operates during the Naples Concert Band’s rehearsal, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Naples, Fla.Naples Concert Band celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2021 and their first concert of the year is on Sunday, Oct. 17, at the Cambier Park Bandshell in Naples, Fla. Bill Ricigliano watches, left, his son Jeff Ricigliano, right, instruct his granddaughter Teresa Ricigliano, center, during the Naples Concert Band’s rehearsal, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Naples, Fla.Bill’s granddaughter, Mikayla Ricigliano is also apart of the Naples Concert Band which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2021 and their first concert of the year is on Sunday, Oct. 17, at the Cambier Park Bandshell in Naples, Fla. A general view of the Naples Concert Band rehearsal photographed, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Naples, Fla.Naples Concert Band celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2021 and their first concert of the year is on Sunday, Oct. 17, at the Cambier Park Bandshell in Naples, Fla. Shirley Mann plays the trumpet during the Naples Concert Band’s rehearsal, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Naples, Fla.Naples Concert Band celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2021 and their first concert of the year is on Sunday, Oct. 17, at the Cambier Park Bandshell in Naples, Fla. Harris Lanzel, the music director and conductor of the Naples Concert Band, practices during the band’s rehearsal, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Naples, Fla.Naples Concert Band celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2021 and their first concert of the year is on Sunday, Oct. 17, at the Cambier Park Bandshell in Naples, Fla. The image was made in-camera using the multiple-exposures technique. Todd Handley plays the tuba during the Naples Concert Band’s rehearsal, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Naples, Fla.Naples Concert Band celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2021 and their first concert of the year is on Sunday, Oct. 17, at the Cambier Park Bandshell in Naples, Fla. Timothy Hamilton plays the orchestra bells during the Naples Concert Band’s rehearsal, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Naples, Fla.Naples Concert Band celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2021 and their first concert of the year is on Sunday, Oct. 17, at the Cambier Park Bandshell in Naples, Fla. Cindy Quehl plays the flute during the Naples Concert Band’s rehearsal, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Naples, Fla.Naples Concert Band celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2021 and their first concert of the year is on Sunday, Oct. 17, at the Cambier Park Bandshell in Naples, Fla. The Naples Concert Band’s rehearsal photographed, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Naples, Fla.Naples Concert Band celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2021 and their first concert of the year is on Sunday, Oct. 17, at the Cambier Park Bandshell in Naples, Fla. Julie Meschko plays the flue during the Naples Concert Band’s rehearsal, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Naples, Fla.Naples Concert Band celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2021 and their first concert of the year is on Sunday, Oct. 17, at the Cambier Park Bandshell in Naples, Fla. Kelly Hardman Parker, left, and her son, William Parker practice during the Naples Concert Band’s rehearsal, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Naples, Fla.Naples Concert Band celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2021 and their first concert of the year is on Sunday, Oct. 17, at the Cambier Park Bandshell in Naples, Fla. Stephane Pierre arrives at Emmanuel Lutheran Church before the Naples Concert Band’s rehearsal, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, at the church in Naples, Fla.Naples Concert Band celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2021 and their first concert of the year is on Sunday, Oct. 17, at the Cambier Park Bandshell in Naples, Fla. A Naples Concert Band logo photographed during the Naples Concert Band’s rehearsal, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Naples, Fla.Naples Concert Band celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2021 and their first concert of the year is on Sunday, Oct. 17, at the Cambier Park Bandshell in Naples, Fla. Harris Lanzel, the music director and conductor of the Naples Concert Band, practices during the band’s rehearsal, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Naples, Fla.Naples Concert Band celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2021 and their first concert of the year is on Sunday, Oct. 17, at the Cambier Park Bandshell in Naples, Fla. Sandy Stein plays the flute during the Naples Concert Band’s rehearsal, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Naples, Fla.Naples Concert Band celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2021 and their first concert of the year is on Sunday, Oct. 17, at the Cambier Park Bandshell in Naples, Fla. Sheet music rests during the Naples Concert Band’s rehearsal, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Naples, Fla.Naples Concert Band celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2021 and their first concert of the year is on Sunday, Oct. 17, at the Cambier Park Bandshell in Naples, Fla. Harris Lanzel, the music director and conductor of the Naples Concert Band, practices during the band’s rehearsal, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Naples, Fla.Naples Concert Band celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2021 and their first concert of the year is on Sunday, Oct. 17, at the Cambier Park Bandshell in Naples, Fla.

  • It essentially built the bandshell it performs in at Cambier Park in downtown Naples, raising the $500,000 needed for construction of the original shell in 1987.
  • It has sent scores of its student members to college with the contributions it solicits for the Kenneth P. Wolfe scholarships, $125,000 to date. Its master class program brings performers, as well as educators and professors from the Bower School of Music and Arts at FGCU, to Naples student musicians.
  • Above all, it plays amazing music. That may have to do with the fact that at least 30 percent of its musicians are former — or even current — music educators or band directors. Another strong percentage are professional musicians, retired or working.

© Landon Bost/Naples Daily News/USA Today Network-Florida Harris Lanzel, the music director and conductor of the Naples Concert Band, practices during the band’s rehearsal, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Naples, Fla.Naples Concert Band celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2021 and their first concert of the year is on Sunday, Oct. 17, at the Cambier Park Bandshell in Naples, Fla.

Two Tuesday nights ago, the band was zipping through Steven Reineke’s “Rise of the Firebird,” a big-sound overture with snappy trumpets, warbling flutes, percussion punctuation — and let’s put a glockenspiel in there, too. After that, they would tackle Ernesto Lecuona’s “Malagueña,” a minute and half of caffeinated Latin rhythm that even had band members’ heads bobbing. The end result will be in its opening concert Sunday, Oct. 17, at the Cambier bandshell (see the information box for details). Music lovers should be ready to tap their feet.

“I was amazing at the wealth of musical talent here,” declared Harris Lanzel, who has directed the band for 20 of its 50 years. That talent includes arranging and even composition. The band has its own snappy opening theme, “For Starters,” written by a member, the late Gene Davis. 

“It’s a wonderful group to work with. Everyone is into what they’re doing, and we have a good time at rehearsals. They all work hard and try to play the best that they can play, so it’s just a great situation.” 

Further, he said, this isn’t a band that, in musician-speak, loses its lip over the summer. He estimates 90 percent of the part-time residents who play in the band are also members of bands in their summer communities.

Naples Concert Band nears 100 strong during the winter here. It opens its season with a respectable 70 members and will draw up to a thousand people who bring camp chairs to enjoy a tree-shaded afternoon at the park. That’s musical miles from the 10 members who assembled to play for a hundred or so people on the concrete pad at the original Norris Community Center in 1972.

Collaborative music: ‘Hansel and Gretel’ seal sweet partnership for Bower School, Opera Naples

“The tennis courts were right behind the audience,” recalled Shirley Mann, who has played trumpet with the band for 43 years. She’s not far behind Bob Thurston, who  plays euphonium and has been with the band all 50 years. 

The motivation may have not changed much since then for either of them. People who have learned how to play musical instruments enjoy that skill and want to keep it.

“I had played since third grade and didn’t want to give it up,” said Mann. She, like one of its newest members, tenor sax player Jeff Ricigliano, is a product of New York schools, where instrumental study begins two to three years earlier than in other states. 

They both love the variety of music programming from Lanzel, who had 31 years as a band director and a spot in the Pennsylvania Music Educators Hall of Fame, before he came to Naples to — he thought — retire.

Ricigliano recites a list of potential program numbers, from the musical “Grease” to marches to swing songs and medleys: “There’s always a mixture.”

“As new Broadway shows come out, we might play some of those,” Mann said. “There’s even a classical piece or two.”

Mann recalls the band entertaining all over Florida during its first 50 years. 

“We played in Immokalee High School to promote band music. We played inside at Coastland Mall — I don’t remember why, but we did. We even played at Epcot,” she recalled, laughing at a memory of the Disney World insistence that a female band member remove her dangling earrings: “They told us, ‘Now you work for The Mouse.'”

The band’s 50th anniversary concert March 5 will be at Artis—Naples’ major concert hall, where they’ll play the world premiere of “The Dolphins of Paradise Coast,” written for them by Rossano Galante, a film and TV composer (“Fantastic Four,” “A Good Day to Die Hard”).  

Lanzel, Mann and Ricigliano all emphasize the family approach band members have with each other — friendly banter, help for those who need it. There are actually families in the band, married couples, parents and children, but Ricigliano may win the prize with four members playing.

Hot ticket: Rolling Stones rolling into Florida soon; Dua Lipa tickets on sale now

“Personally, I joined because I use to play in high school years ago, and when my daughter started playing, she wanted to play along with me in some regard. So we both joined together,” he said. That wouldn’t be the end of the Ricigliano family. 

“As of right now I have two daughters and my father,” he said. “So we have three generations playing in this band”

Harriet Howard Heithaus covers arts and entertainment for the Naples Daily News/naplesnews.com. Reach her at 239-213-6091.

What: Opening concert of the Naples Concert Band 50th season. Dickie Fleisher, principal harpist with the Naples Philharmonic, performs a special arrangement of “Malaguena.” Guest vocalists are Doug Renfroe and Mary Jo Carney.

When: 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 17

Where: Cambier Park, 755 Eighth Ave. S., Naples

Admission: Free; donations accepted for scholarships

Things to know: Bring seating 

Information: naplesconcertband.org

This article originally appeared on Naples Daily News: 50 years of sweet sounds: Naples Concert Band marks half century with own music, Artis—Naples date

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