John Phillip Sousa Memorial Band Shell


The Port Washington Brass Band, so loved by President Theodore Roosevelt, is long gone. Port Washington’s long music tradition lives on, however, with its distinguished successor, the Port Washington Community Concert Band. Bandshell061516CPresenting summer concerts since 1931, Port’s own band, now under the able direction of Aaron Prindle, will once again be performing Friday concerts at 8:15 p.m. on July 8, 15 and 22 at the John Philip Sousa Memorial Band Shell in beautiful waterside Sunset Park, on lower Main Street next to the town dock.
When, in 1963, Gay Pearsall first envisioned a band shell to commemorate the legacy and music of “March King” John Philip Sousa, the Port Washington Community Concert Band had long been performing on an open riser on the town dock, having moved from the front of Main Street School and later the Paul D. Schreiber High School. Though the concerts were well received, the outdoor locations were less then ideal acoustically. The Sousa Band Shell was designed with the Community Band performances specifically in mind. In fact, all of the other concerts are booked with the Community Band concerts as the core and anchor of each concert season.
Though it is generously sponsored by the Port Washington Schools Summer Music Program, the Port Washington Community Concert Band is not, as often assumed, a summer configuration of the Paul D. Schreiber High School Band. Its ranks include professional musicians, band directors and music educators, members and alumni from both professional and other community bands, as well as alumni from college bands and other high school bands, including our own Schreiber band. Some of its members have been performing with this band for decades. It also, of course, serves as a prized resource for our schools music program by warmly welcoming talented members of our current Schreiber High School Band to join them, extending an invaluable opportunity to play alongside accomplished adult musicians.
Even at its inception, this band was already playing with sufficient talent and passion to impress Lieutenant Commander Sousa himself. So much so that he agreed to conduct the band for one of its summer concerts in 1932. Sadly, he passed away in Reading, Pennsylvania where he was scheduled to appear as a guest conductor and that Port concert never took place. Since then, however, many more adults have joined the Port band and the talent and passion remain intact.
These four July concert programs span a broad musical range comparable to those of the other accomplished concert bands on the Sousa Band Shell schedule, from marches and classical pieces, to music from Broadway, motion pictures and television, to pieces specifically composed for concert bands, and even full band arrangements of pop and rock classics.
Bring your own blanket or chair and enjoy the spectacular, fully orchestrated sunset.

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Elizabeth Johnson is editor of Manhasset Press and Manhasset Press Magazine. Growing up in nearby Garden City and attending New York University, she is well-versed in the locale and knowledgeable about the beat she covers. Her community involvement is extensive and includes the Manhasset SCA, Kiwanis International, Manhasset Chamber of Commerce, St. Mary’s Church, and various civic and local charitable organizations. Curious by nature, her travels, community service, love of the arts as well as local sports give her the inside view to unique content. During her time at Anton, she has received several awards from the New York Press Association and the Press Club of LI, including the coveted "Best Community Newspaper" several years in a row.


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