By ED SALVAS
It may have been delayed, but on Monday evening, Conductor John Luckenbill raised the baton to open the 75th season of the Asbury Park Concert Band.
Luckenbill has been the band’s leader since 1989 and for many years the band held its concerts at the Arthur Pryor Bandshell on the boardwalk at the south end of the Fifth Avenue Pavilion. In recent years, the band has played on the boardwalk in front of Tim McLoone’s Supper Club and Robinson Ale House.
This year, the band moved again, and held its opening night concert at Springwood Park as part of the Asbury Park Music Foundation’s “Music Monday’s” series of free concerts in the park. To mark the band’s 75th Anniversary, members of the City Council presented Luckenbill and 35-year band member Dorian Parreott with a proclamation recognizing the band’s accomplishment. It reads in part:
“The Asbury Park Concert Band has become a lasting community tradition, synonymous with summer. Its members continue to inspire future generations of musicians and performers by mentoring students and adds to seasonal tourism by entertaining boardwalk crowds. The Mayor and Council encourage all residents to join with them in saluting the Asbury Park Concert Band on their Diamond Jubilee Year.”
The band was originally formed by Arthur Pryor who was followed by Frank Bryan who handed the baton to Luckenbill. Asked why the band has continued to thrive in a world where musical tastes keep changing, Luckrnbill had a quick answer.
“We play music people like, also the quality of the musicians. All are top professionals,” he said.
The band has a core of 17 musicians and frequently brings in college students to help cover all the parts. The band’s repertoire includes Sousa marches, show tunes, big band selections, movie and TV themes, classical and jazz and music that appeals to children.
The regular Thursday night concerts continue from July 16 to August 27 at Bradley Park, Ocean and Fifth Avenues across from the Paramount Theater and Convention Hall. Luckenbill said the move off the boardwalk was made to allow for greater social distancing and also because McLoone’s has expanded its outdoor dining area.
The concerts are free and start at 7 p.m. No chairs are provided, bring your own chairs and face masks and enjoy the concert.