Atlantic County Pops to perform annual HERO concert Friday (VIDEO)

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Laura Stetser/Laura Stetser/The Cygnus dancers rehearse their routines Tuesday, April 8. Laura Stetser/Laura Stetser/The Cygnus dancers rehearse their routines Tuesday, April 8.

"The love of music brings everyone together. It’s passing the musical experience from one generation to another.”

EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP – The Atlantic County Pops Community Band will present its seventh annual HERO concert 7 p.m. Friday, April 11 in the Egg Harbor Township Community Center, 5035 English Creek Ave.

Admission is $5, with the proceeds going to the HERO Campaign.

The 85-member band will be accompanied by the Cygnus Contemporary Dance Ensemble as they perform American Cameos, a medley of familiar tunes by composer Aaron Copland.

Lt. Cmdr. John Pastin, dean of arts and sciences at Rowan University and retired bandleader of the U.S. Navy band, will serve as guest conductor as the Pops pay tribute to the nation’s heroes and the mission of the HERO Campaign.

Musical highlights include “The Sea Treaders,” a bombastic and challenging piece commissioned by the Naval Academy in 1995, and Leroy Anderson’s “Bugler’s Holiday.”

As a special patriotic finale, the band will be joined by 70 orchestra, choir and band members from Maryland’s Calvert County and Patuxent High Schools. The grand finale will feature more than 150 musicians. The Maryland student musicians are joining the Pops as part of their school music trip to Philadelphia this weekend, according to director Mark Kadetsky.

The Atlantic County Pops is the ensemble in residence at the Cygnus Creative Arts Centre. It consist of amateur and advanced musicians from South Jersey.

Pops President Stephanie Garriel of Sicklerville said the educational component is what makes this ensemble so special.

“We have a lot of musical directors, retired members and students,” the fluist said. “We all can play side by side. The love of music brings everyone together. It’s passing the musical experience from one generation to another.”

Laura Stetser/ Egg Harbor Township High School senior Joseph Abbate, 18, plays upright bass in the ensemble. Laura Stetser/ Egg Harbor Township High School senior Joseph Abbate, 18, plays upright bass in the ensemble.

Joseph Abbate, 18, a senior at Egg Harbor Township High School, plays upright bass in the ensemble. A part of the program since seventh grade, Abbate said he feels the community band allows young musicians like him to learn from the older, more experienced players as well as to try more challenging music.

“We’ve been able to play a wide variety of pieces, from jazz to classical,” he said.

The adult members range in outside experience as well. Some are educators and some, like Pete Senatore of Millville, are from other careers. Senatore is a surgeon who just moved to South Jersey from the Boston area. The first thing he did was to look for a local community band. He plays both trombone and trumpet and also participates in the Cumberland County College Band.

“It helps me relax,” he said. “Sports are becoming less of an option as I age, so it’s an avocation I can still enjoy.”

 Laura Stetser/ Pete Senatore of Millville is a new member of the group who joined after relocating to South Jersey. Laura Stetser/ Pete Senatore of Millville is a new member of the group who joined after relocating to South Jersey.


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