The Harvard Summer Pops Band is about as relaxed as summer itself. Musicians don’t have to audition, there is no Harvard affiliation required, there are no fees, age is just a number, and previous experience isn’t necessary. The band is open to all brass, woodwind, and percussion musicians willing to show up for about six weekly rehearsals at the Sanders Theatre in Cambridge and perform at a couple of concerts, one in Harvard Yard, the other at the Hatch Shell on the Charles River Esplanade. To several current and recent Wellesley High School graduates, as well as recently retired Wellesley Middle School band director Henry Platt, joining in for the band’s 44th season sounded like the perfect way to while away some summer hours.
You can see them all, plus the entire ensemble, do their thing in a free concert at the Hatch Shell on Sunday, July 31 at 3pm. There, current/former WHS students Meilani Ching ’18 (clarinet); Maia Foley ’19 (percussion); Nicole Frontero, ’16 (clarinet); Valerie Collins ’16 (flute); Henry Platt on trombone; and six members of the Wellesley Town Band will have the triple pleasure of playing beautiful music in front of an appreciative audience in an iconic Boston setting.
From Harvard’s perspective, the summer band has the dual role of showcasing the university’s community outreach efforts and keeping the level of enthusiasm for the program so high that musicians return year after year. Mark Olson, Director of Bands at Harvard University, along with Tom Everett, who held that position until his 2013 retirement, are generally regarded as pros who can somehow coax the best possible sound out of a group of about 150 individuals with wildly disparate abilities, year after year, all while keeping it as easygoing as summer itself. Platt says, “The band is incredible! Everyone should come to the Hatch Shell for the concert.”
Bring a blanket and chairs down to the Esplanade on Sunday, July 31 at 3pm and enjoy the concert. For more information call the Harvard University Band at 617-496-2263 or email Mark Olson (firstname.lastname@example.org).