Local Newmarket Bands Expect a Year of Growth

New music for winter skating and a summer band festival are two new projects for the Newmarket Citizens Band in 1981, following a successful summer and fall membership drive which brought renewed vigor to the 109-year-old performing group.

NEWMARKET – It will be a year for musical growth and development, say two of this town’s best-known performing groups.

The Newmarket Citizens Band, now entering its 109th year as a local concert band, is celebrating its continued growth and success this summer with its first band festival.

The Ambassadors, the 7 1/2-year-old drum and bugle corps which now makes its home here, is looking forward to its first year in a new competitive class – and a flurry of travelling is anticipated.

Connie Chambers, publicity spokesman for the Citizens Band, announced the planned June band concert last week.  “We will be inviting concert bands from the area to take part in a day of (indoor) concerts here,” Ms. Chambers told The Era, “ending hopefully with a massed band presentation.”

Noting that she is excited about the concert, which she thinks will be something new for Newmarket, Ms. Chambers also said the event should have real value in getting local musicians together for both a social and musical exchange.

She added that in 1981, the Newmarket CItizens Band “will continue to be an organization where people can come out and enjoy participating in the music of a performing band. … It’s going to be an active year musically, more active than we’ve had in several years.”

Along with a new program of winter skating music, the band is working on a series of outdoor concerts to be held throughout Newmarket this summer. The group hopes to perform in different parts of the town, and will reschedule any concerts which are rained out.

The band spokesman said a summer and fall membership drive has been very successful and has provided added interest for the group, with a total of 50 members now playing on a regular basis.

“We’ve been recruiting and it’s been very successful…. Sometimes we have difficulty finding a large enough place to accommodate us now, but it’s a nice problem to have,” Ms. Chambers concluded.

“We expect to be bigger, and we expect to be better.” That’s how Ambassadors’ executive director Paul Ranson sums up his corps’ approach to 1981, the year the band moves up a grade into the newly-formed B class for competition bands.

Although a 1980 recruitment program for the drum and bugle corps hasn’t been as successful as he would like the group has only 74 members of a possible 128 to date – Mr Ranson is positive about the year ahead.

“We’re hoping it’s going to be a growth year… There’s no reason on earth that the Ambassadors shouldn’t win in the new B corps.”

Mr. Ranson said he would welcome new members in both the Ambassadors and its junior branch, the Diplomats, and said the Ambassadors will travel to many Canadian and U.S. Communities (sic) for concerts and competitions this summer.

The band will participate in five contests in Illinois in July, part of a planned U.S. midwest tour, and in some 18 Canadian competitions through the course of the summer.  The corps hosts its own annual competition in Newmarket on June 28, and Mr. Ranson said the event might be held in conjunction with the town’s “to-be annual celebration.”  Other planned Canadian and U.S. tours and bookings and participation in the Drum Corp’s Annual Championships – this year in Montreal – are other highlights for the corps in 1981.

In the meantime, plan to learn more about the Ambassdors and other local bands at a band concert being planned for February or March at Huron Heights Secondary School.

For further information about either performing organization, contact Connie Chambers about the Newmarket Citizens Band at 895-4019 or Paul Ranson about the Ambassadors at 963-7315.