AUBURN – The Auburn Community Band, under the direction of Milt Simon, will kick off its annual series of outdoor evening concerts at Festival Plaza in downtown Auburn on Wednesday, June 23.

The 7 p.m. performance will be the first of 10 weekly programs to be offered this summer at the Main Street location. The free concerts will continue each Wednesday evening through Aug. 25, weather permitting. Ample free parking is available in the new parking garage located across the street from the plaza.

This year marks the 23rd season for Milt Simon. In the fall of 1981, Simon, a longtime resident of Durham, organized 15 individuals to form the Auburn Community Band. Today, the group numbers 58 volunteer musicians, ranging in age from 12 to 79. Together, they represent a total of 15 central and southern Maine communities.

“This organization gives many individuals a chance to utilize musical talents neglected since their high school days,” said Simon, “and the entire community benefits.” Simon added, “The Auburn group is one of the larger community bands in the state of Maine, and commonly attracts an average of 500 people to its weekly concerts.”

In 1999, in recognition of his efforts, the city of Auburn named Simon its Volunteer of the Year.

The opening night performance will feature the many new songs added to the band’s repertoire during the winter rehearsals. The program includes some classic tunes made popular by Paul Simon and Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass, along with the theme songs from former TV shows “Hawaii Five-0” and “Victory at Sea”. The band will also show off its versatility by presenting several hit songs recorded by the Brian Setzer Orchestra, followed by a comical salute to Spike Jones. Several of the community band’s greatest hits from the past two decades will be performed, as well.

Throughout the next two months the band will present a different musical theme and selection of songs each week. The schedule is as follows:

June 23: “Opening Night 23.”

June 30: “An Evening of Patriotic Music.”

July 7: “A Night of Nostalgia.”

July 14: “Music of Famous Composers.”

July 21: “Big Band and Dance Music.”

July 28: “It’s Show Time!”

Aug. 4: “Famous Groups and People.”

Aug. 11: “America’s Favorite Songs.”

Aug. 18: “Auburn Community Band’s Greatest Hits.”

Aug. 25: “Season in Review.”

People planning to attend any of the performances should bring their own lawn chairs and are advised to arrive well before the 7 p.m. concert time.

The band is co-sponsored by the Auburn Parks and Recreation Department, the Dunlap Corp. and the Gleason Radio Group. For more information, call the APRD at 784-0191 or visit the band’s Web site at www.auburncommunityband.org.


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