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Summer: Vergennes City Band concerts on tap

DELLA CONNOR, LEFT, Rachel Connor, Julie Cousino and Alexi Rabideau were among the Champlain Valley Christian School volunteers who dished up around 500 servings of strawberry shortcake at the Vergennes Strawberry Festival in City Park during a regular Monday evening City Band concert last year.
Photo credit: Alisa DeVries

VERGENNES — On a hot summer night, many folks in these parts like nothing more than sitting outside and enjoying the breeze. In Vergennes, they do things one better every Monday.

Throughout the summer, the Vergennes City Band performs concerts on the city green just off Main Street starting at 7 p.m. They are held every week through the end of August, weather permitting, and bring back the old-time flavor of the Little City.

Right in the center of downtown, City Park boasts plenty of benches and shade for a break. With a copper roof and lights, the bandstand is a beautiful setting for an evening’s entertainment.

The concerts are sometimes accompanied by various non-profit group fundraisers that make the evening even more enjoyable, whether it’s a bake sale, a bazaar or some other activity. A seasonal strawberry festival at the end of June often accompanies the concert.

Volunteer musicians — regular people who share their love for making music — started practicing each Monday in June to limber up and get everyone into the swing with each other.

The band is run by an advisory board that includes members tasked with handling equipment, publicizing events and just keeping everything going. Retired Vergennes Union High School band instructor Sue O’Daniel is the City Band director.

The band lends out sheet music for home study — one week at a time. Musicians are asked to bring a music stand and sunglasses when needed, or a headlamp for late August performances when the sun might not provide enough light for the last few tunes.

In the interest of professionalism, band members can buy a blue Vergennes City Band polo or t-shirt for the concerts, or wear  “royal blue-ish” shirt of their own.

Although the musicians are amateurs, the concerts are not amateurish. The music is good, and the atmosphere is lovely. 

Check out a performance this summer. The City Band will play every Monday evening until 8:15 p.m. though Aug. 28. Plus there will be a 10 a.m. concert on Vergennes Day, Saturday, Aug. 26.

Don’t forget the bug spray, just in case.

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