FARMINGTON – Most folks know it as the Old Crow Indian Band, but the newly named Western Maine Foothills Band will open its performance season on Monday, playing in two Memorial Day parades.

Paul Harnden, director of Western Maine Foothills Band (formerly known as the Old Crow Indian Band), waits while band members arrange their Washington Post music. Franklin Journal photo by editor Bob Neal

New season and a new name. And it has 20 performances scheduled in the next five months.  The first two will be in the Farmington Memorial Day parade, which begins at 10 a.m. Monday at the Legion Hall on High Street, and in the Weld Memorial Day parade, which begins at 1 p.m. at the Weld Town Hall.

Same band with a new name and always welcoming new members. Why

Western Maine Foothills Band members from left trumpet player Jim Robertson from Rumford, alto saxaphone player Mike Berry from Rumford and tenor sax player Janet Dunham of Belgrade are seen during the last practice of the season. Franklin Journal photo by editor Bob Neal

a new name after 67 years? It is difficult these days to interest younger people in anything that contains the word “old” in its name. And Western Maine Foothills more accurately reflects the origins of the players. At a rehearsal on Monday, May 20, at UMF, 10 players assembled from New Sharon, Belgrade, Rumford, Wilton and, of course, Farmington.  

Sitting in a semicircle, the players worked through some of their standbys. Even in a small classroom, “The Washington Post March” stirs.  The two observers were tapping their feet to the 130-year-old Sousa march.

Each of the 20 concerts — most are Monday shows (at 7 p.m.), starting on June 3, in the gazebo at the Meeting House Park in Farmington — has a different selection of tunes, said Paul Harnden, who has been director of the band for about five years.

 But for one.  The finale is always, “Chaser,” he said, a medley of old standards such as “Auld Lang Syne,” “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and “Taps.”

Clarinet players Rick Marriner of Fayette and Maggie Scholl of New Sharon, trumpet player Jim Robertson of Rumford and alto saxiphone player Mike Berry of Rumford are seen during the last Western Maine Foothills Band rehearsal before the start of their concert and parade season. Franklin Journal photo by editor Bob Neal

 For most concerts, between 10 and 20 members turn out.  And, Harnden emphasized just before the rehearsal began Monday evening, more are welcome.  “Anyone who plays a band instrument,” he said. “Brass, woodwinds, percussion. You play it, you’re welcome.”  

For more information about joining the band, visit the Western Maine Foothills Band Facebook page or call Harnden, 578-4106. To schedule the band for a parade or concert, call treasurer Lois King, 500-2143.

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