Group strikes up interest

The band's members range from two sixth-graders to a 78-year-old.
GIRARD -- The newly formed Girard Community Band is growing, and it hasn't even put on its first show.
"It's so exciting to see people enjoy music," said Jane Harris, a board of education member whose daughter, Sue Ellen Davis, is one of the band's organizers.
On average, 20 to 22 people gather each Wednesday to practice from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the high school band room.
Thirty-nine musicians are listed on the band's roster.
Members range from two sixth-grade pupils to a 78-year-old man, said Joe Commarata, elementary school band director, another organizer.
One of the sixth-graders is in the band because his father is playing trumpet for the group.
"We never have all of them at one time [for practice]. It should continue to grow," Commarata noted.
He said he's pleased with the quality of their play, adding that it will get better.
Playing again: High school students who are band members help push those who haven't picked up instruments for years, Commarata said. Some band members are teaching others to play their instruments.
He pointed out that one woman has picked up an instrument after 30 years of not having played.
The band is not only for city residents. Some participants are from Warren and Youngstown.
"I don't really care where they come from," Commarata said. "We're not just limiting it."
It's a hard-working group.
"They don't want a coffee break. If they're having fun, I know they're going to improve," Commarata said. "It's a lot of fun for me, too."
"It bridges the generation gap," Harris pointed out.
They play standard tunes -- from the theme of the Broadway musical "West Side Story" to traditional marches.
Show: The band will make its first public appearance Feb. 24 at the high school.
The show is part of a spaghetti dinner fund-raiser for the school bands. Dinner will be served from noon to 5 p.m. in the cafeteria.
The fifth- and sixth-grade band will perform at 1 p.m.; the community band at 2 p.m.; the jazz band at 3 p.m.; the high school band at 4 p.m. and the junior high band at 5 p.m.

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