History of the Potomac Concert Band

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The Potomac Concert Band has gone through a number of different names since it was originally formed in the late 1800's.  The band was known as the Cumberland Concert Band when first organized in 1885.  In 1917, the band was re-organized and became known as the Cumberland Municipal Band.
 
The group disbanded in the early 1940's due to World War II, and reorganized again in 1953 as the Cumberland Municipal Concert Band by a group of men which included Fred Keyser, William E. Capaldi, and members of the Shafer family, Russ, Art, and Ken.  The director from 1953-1955 was Valgene Routch, the Allegany County Board of Education Supervisor of Music, and was assisted by Frank R. Munson, band director at Beall High School in Frostburg.  Mr. Munson took over as director in 1956, and the band performed year long schedule.  In 1957 the group became the Potomac Concert Band under the sponsorship of Local 787 of the American Federation of Musicians.  Munson directed the band until 1971, interrupted with brief stints by Dr. Ward Cole and Nunzio Barbera.
 
In 1972, D. Lynn Zeller, band director at Braddock Middle School in Cumberland, assumed directorship of the band.  Zeller had been a member of the group in the trombone section for 14 years along side his father Darrell "Gus" Zeller who directed the Frostburg Arion Band.  Lynn conducted the band until 1989.
 
Dr. Jon Bauman of Frostburg State University became director of the band for the 1990 season.  Mr. Munson returned to lead the ensemble from 1991 through 2001 when Mr. Zeller assumed the directorship upon Munson's retirement.  Zeller retired from the band in September of 2015.
 
The 2016 performance season will begin under the interim directorship of Dr. Brent Weber.  Weber will lead the band from Memorial Day through the first half of the summer.  At that time Mr. Jay Moon will succeed him for the remaining concerts concluding with the annual Labor Day concert.  Weber and Moon are currently working together to plan a full band repertoire for the season.
 
The band consists of members whose ages range from the mid teens to the eighties with several husband-wife couples, parent-child and sibling combinations.  Many occupations are represented ranging from students in high school and college to folks with their doctorates in various fields.  The band includes a number of present and retired band directors and music teachers.
 
The Potomac Concert Band is well known in the Cumberland-Allegany County area for its summer concerts which include traditional marches, Broadway show tunes, TV theme music, patriotic selections, and popular songs as well as instrumental features.  The band begins rehearsal in late April or early May for its series of approximately a dozen summer performances, three of which are Cumberland traditions at the Constitution Park amphitheater on Memorial Day weekend, Independence Day, and Labor Day weekend.  The band has been affectionately called our area's version of the Boston Pops because of the variety of light, entertaining fare.
 
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