Over 80 musicians will gather in Williamsport on Saturday to pay tribute to a beloved friend and mentor.
Free and open to the public, the Albert J. Nacinovich Memorial Concert is slated for 7:30 p.m. on June 10 at the Williamsport Area High School auditorium.
Nacinovich, a long-time area educator and 37-year conductor of Williamsport’s world-famous Repasz Band, passed away on Feb. 18 this year.
At least 50 current Repasz players, plus more than 30 former members, along with Nacinovich’s former students, friends and family, will perform nearly a dozen carefully chosen tunes.
“Narrowing down the choices for the memorial concert was tough,” says Repasz conductor Jeff Dent. “Each work was selected to represent a special part of Al’s life.”
These include “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the “Repasz Band March,” which began and ended every Repasz concert under Nacinovich’s baton.
Also on the program: Samuel Hazo’s “We Meet Again”; “On a Hymnsong of Philip Bliss” (incorporating the popular hymn “It Is Well”); the NASCAR theme song “Thunder,” recalling Al’s fondness for auto racing; “Salute to PMEA,” honoring the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association in which he was so active; and “Ashokan Farewell,” used in the 1993 movie “Gettysburg.”
The latter was chosen not only because of Nacinovich’s lifelong interest in the Civil War, but also because, under his leadership, the band played at Appomattox in 2015 for the 150th anniversary of Lee’s surrender to Grant. That memorial ceremony was in turn inspired by the fact that Repasz, initially a military band, had played at the actual surrender in 1865.
Saturday’s program is rounded out by “The Sinfonians,” Karl King’s “Viking March,” Randall Standridge’s “Celebration!” and “Fatinitza Overture.”
For players the event is an all-day affair, with a noon meet-and-greet followed by rehearsal till 4:30, the concert itself (including group photo) and an after-party for participants at Antlers on the Water.
The Repasz Band’s official summer concert schedule then begins the very next day, with a 1:30 p.m. performance for the 65th Annual Ways Garden Arts Show. Other concerts on the schedule include a June 14 Flag Day program at Penn College (6 p.m.); June 21 at the Williamsport Home (6:30 p.m.); June 27 at WeCare in Loyalsock (6:30 p.m.); July 4 on the green in Eagles Mere (5 p.m.); and the annual Little League Parade on Aug. 14.
Summer tune selections include “America, the Beautiful,” John Philip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever,” “Amparito Roca,” “Bare Necessities,” a Beach Boys medley and a tribute to the Armed Forces that covers all five branches’ theme songs.
Also among the band’s summer activities is a fundraiser in conjunction with the Alabaster Coffee Roaster & Tea Company in downtown Williamsport. Named in honor of the Little League Parade in which the band has so faithfully participated for many years, “The Grand Slam” will be Alabaster’s “Cup of the Month” for August. Folks wishing to support the band financially can pledge between $1 and $5 to be donated to the band whenever that specialty brew is purchased. $100-$500 gift cards can also be purchased to cover Grand Slam sales until the card runs out.
More information on the coffee program is available from Repasz president Patsy Cantor at firstname.lastname@example.org or (570) 220-8532.