BRIDGTON – Bay State Winds from the United States Air Force Band of Liberty brought its sound to church Wednesday, captivating scores of area residents with its wide ranging repertoire of chamber ensemble music.
About 125 people were treated to more than an hour of clarinet quartet selections raging from classical, Broadway, patriotic, jazz and folk works by composers such as Mozart and Gershwin at the First Congregational Church-UCC Wednesday evening.
“This is a great place to play,” said Tech. Sgt. Mark Craig, a native of Dallas and a member of the Air Force Band of the Golden West at Travis Air Force Base in California. He has performed with notable artists such as Bernadette Peters, Stephen Sondheim, The Lettermen, The Four Aces and The Mills Brothers. “We love Maine. We love to play here.”
This was the third time the group has played at the church on South High Street. Pastor Dick Bennett said Liberty’s Bay State Winds first approached the church about three years ago and asked to play a concert after someone recommended the 150-year-old church to the group as a venue.
“The sound comes off really clear,” he said referring to the sanctuary’s tin ceiling and walls that provide a perfect acoustical setting for music, including the church’s junior and senior choirs.
Bennett said the Band of Liberty concerts have become so popular that the church is now trying to arrange to have a woodwind quartet perform with an oboe, flute, clarinet and saxophone, perhaps as early as next fall.
“We’ve had a wonderful time with them,” he said.
The musicians joined concert-goers at a potluck supper before the concert and then went on to the University of Southern Maine where they were due to perform and give master classes for the music students there.
The Band of Liberty is one of 10 USAF bands nationwide. The bands are comprised of a select group of professional airmen musicians who provide their music for military, recruitment and community relation purposes.