Glen Mar’s June 25 concert attracted a whopping 600 people, setting an all-time high attendance record for any of the events in Glen Mar’s Summer Concert series. We can only guess why.
Perhaps it was pent-up cabin fever after coping with the coronavirus for more than a year. Or maybe people just couldn’t resist an outdoor concert, especially one with a delightful breeze. Before June 25, all the events in Glen Mar’s Summer Concert Series, which started in 2017, had been held indoors.
Since no one took a survey about what attracted people to this event, we’ll have to just put this attendance issue in the category of “Questions That May Never Be Answered.”
The event kicked off with brief remarks from Lead Pastor Mandy Sayers and Summer Concert Series Executive Director Fred Sadler.
Audience members, sprawled out on lawn chairs, picnic tables or blankets, then watched band members perform just outside the entrance to the Early Learning Center. They were Staff Sgt. Jeff Lewandowski (trumpet), Staff Sgt. Mike Gillespie (trumpet), Sgt. 1st Class J. Greg Miller (horn), Master Sgt. Wesley Ballenger (bass trombone), Sgt. 1st Class Carmen Russo (trombone) and Staff Sgt. Andrew Emerich (percussion).
Glen Mar was familiar turf for Ballenger, who attends Glen Mar with his family.
The group had not performed before a live audience since March 2020 when it abruptly interrupted a concert tour in Indiana due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The musicians played a wide variety of music, including rock, blues, classic and patriotic. Among the songs they performed were the sultry “Lonely Beauty,” the fast-paced “Tetris Variations” and the inspirational “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
Miller served as the main announcer. He exhibited humor and enthusiastic, active expressions as he occasionally jutted out into the audience, showing he could entertain even without blowing his horn.
Here’s a sample of Miller’s wit. During a question-and-answer session with the audience, Miller explained that members of the group were deployable soldiers who had to learn how to throw a grenade, but he didn’t stop there. The horn player added that a “French horn in the wrong hands was more lethal than a grenade.”
Many of the pieces were arranged by one of the six performers and another member of this brass band who didn’t perform with them on June 25, Sgt. 1st Class Phillip Kennedy Johnson.
Their hard work before and during the event were rewarded with a standing ovation and laudatory comments.
“The concert was a great blessing,” extolled Amy Barnes. “It was an opportunity to gather with friends and family, to listen to amazingly talented performers and to relax in the cool breeze while our kiddo played on the (nearby) playground.”
“The concert couldn’t have been better,” raved Jo Ambrose.
“I appreciate their musicianship,” commented Laurie Davis who played drums for a living for 14 years.
This event honored Estelle King, who died on June 20, 2021. Estelle was an exceptional piano and organ player, singer and music director who spent more than 40 years working or volunteering in Glen Mar’s music program. She was a member of this Summer Concert Series Committee.