Ridgefield Academy students participate in community band concert

The Westport Community Band and area middle school musicians participated in the annual “Play with the Community Band” program in a concert on Friday, May 10 at 8 p.m. in the Bedford Middle School Auditorium in Westport.

Musicians from Ridgefield Academy who participated in the concert are alto saxophonists Matthew Braunstein and Alex Ramos; trumpet player James Odyniec and percussionist Lily Archibald.

For the 23rd year, the Westport Band has invited local middle school band directors to nominate second year instrumental students to participate in this activity. These students have rehearsed not only among themselves, but also with the Community Band to prepare for the concert that concluded this years’ program of music.

Student musicians attended five rehearsals, playing for a period of time with their fellow student musicians and then the students were joined by the adult members of the Westport Community Band. The Community Band members mentored the younger musicians in an exchange of musical information, which has proved beneficial to the young students.

Both groups are under the direction of the longtime Westport Community Band director, Sal LaRusso, who also conducts the WesWinds Ensemble at Wesleyan University and is an instructor or instrumental music at the Cider Mill Elementary School in Wilton.

Participants are from the Middlebrook School, Wilton; Reed Intermediate School, Newtown; the Christian Heritage School, Trumbull; Tomlinson Middle School & the Unquowa School, both of Fairfield; Central Middle School, Greenwich; Ridgefield Academy, Ridgefield; the Weston Middle School, Weston and the Side By Side Charter School in Norwalk.

This year’s program was made possible by a grant by the Westport Women’s Club.

The Westport Community Band is a nonprofit organization affiliated with Westport Continuing Education. The approximately 65 members are from all over Fairfield County and some travel from out of state as well.