Alesia Band, in 98th year, to launch rehearsals


January 17, 1996|By Pat Brodowski | Pat Brodowski,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

THE ALESIA BAND plans to tune up Jan. 25 to start its 98th year of community music.

The band will rehearse every Thursday at 7:30 p.m., weather permitting, until early May at North Carroll Middle School. Any musician is invited to join the band at any of its weekly rehearsals, and the public is welcome to listen.

Every year since 1898, the band has carried the name of Alesia, a northeastern Carroll County hamlet, to church picnics, community festivals and parades. It plays the favorites, from marches to polkas, waltzes to show tunes. Its first engagement is New Windsor Day, the third Saturday in May.

For almost 100 years, the band's instrumentalists have conducted spring practice; they drive in from areas such as Hanover, Pa., northern Baltimore County and throughout Carroll County.

Director Francis Staley began his dedication to the community band more than two decades ago.

"I've been a member -- let me think -- about 23 years," he said. "I played trumpet, switched to saxophone and became assistant director. I just fell in line, and when the other director left, I was made director. That's been since 1977."

The band has an active schedule of engagements, such as the Fallfest at Union Mills and firemen's parades in Hampstead and Manchester.

Middle school and high school students play side by side with adult and elderly musicians, keep their instruments in action during the summer school vacation and perhaps discover a useful niche for their clarinets or trombones after high school.

"We could use reeds, brass or percussion," said Mr. Staley. "Anyone is welcome to attend or participate. We perform different [musical] numbers year to year."

Sign up to play in the Alesia uniform of white shirt, red tie and navy blue trousers with red stripe, and you'll keep Carroll County history alive.

Information: Francis Staley, 374-5117.

Studying local history

"The people who've lived here for a while remember the things that are special," says Joan Prall, a Hampstead author who, with radio talk show host and former Hampstead Councilwoman Jackie Hyatt, has begun to collect materials for a book of Hampstead history.

This is the third work of local history by Mrs. Prall.

"We're starting with interviews," she explains. "There are a lot of resources for a book, it seems to me, but if you don't talk to the older people when the chance arrives, it may be too late."

Six years and six months of interviews and writing resulted in her first book, "Mills and Memories," which she followed with "Schoolbells and Slates."

"After working on the schools and mills, I'd later read obituaries and think, how good it was I had been able to talk with them," said Mrs. Prall.

Hampstead's history is varied. The authors are looking to include categories such as businesses, farms, churches, transportation, schools, civic organizations, doctors and dentists, and personalities of the past.

"We certainly could use more interviews," said Mrs. Prall, "and old-time pictures, too. I'm sure there's some floating around that people will let us use."

Information: Mrs. Prall, 374-6503.

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