Summer Swing and Jazz Concerts

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Summer Swing and Jazz Concerts

Free Veteran-led Concerts at Stone Church June 5 and 19

U.S. Air Force veteran John P. Sacco will lead two outdoor concerts at the Stone Church Cultural Center, 283 Main Street (Route 32), Gilbertville, MA, presented by Friends of the Stone Church:  A Walk Down Broadway” by The Weir River Concert Band, Sunday June 5, 2 pm; and Summer Sizzle by Weir River Jazz Ensemble, Sunday June 19 at 1 pm. Both events are free, sponsored by Country Bank. The public is invited to bring lawn chairs or blankets. Tents, refreshments and accessible facilities will be provided.

In Memorial Day spirit, the Weir River Concert Band will begin with The Star-Spangled Banner, followed by Midway March by John Williams, written for the film Midway, about the turning point in the Pacific Theater of World War II. Scott Bryant, percussionist, will assist Mr. Sacco in conducting. Music of Broadway composers Henry Mancini, Marvin Hamlisch, Elton John, Richard Rodgers, and Frederick Loewe will be performed.

Weir River Jazz is a traditional jazz ensemble specializing in Big Band Jazz and Swing, led by Mr. Sacco as lead alto saxophone. Vocalist Donna-Lee DePrille will perform God Bless the Child by Billie Halliday; Natural Woman by Aretha Franklin; and other jazz songs.

A career veteran, John P. Sacco was awarded the Silver Star for his actions in Vietnam in October of 1969. He trained at Boston Conservatory and taught music in the public schools. He returned to active duty for the 104th Fighter Wing of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, an operational flying unit based in Westfield, MA. He served in “Operation Desert Storm,” the largest US military air campaign since the conflict in Southeast Asia. He supported Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, Northern Watch and Southern Watch. He also served with US forces in Bosnia and Kosovo, having been deployed to Aviano Air Force Airbase (Italy) and to Kuwait.

Sacco founded the Weir River Concert Band, formerly the Ware River Community Band, in 2006. Weir River Jazz grew out of the concert band to focus on jazz and improvisation. Since 2020, both groups have made the Gilbertville Stone Church Cultural their rehearsal home.

These programs are supported, in part, by the Mass Cultural Council through its Project Grants program; and by Local Cultural Councils of Barre, Hardwick-New Braintree, North Brookfield, Oakham and Petersham. The local councils are programs of the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.

FOSC asks attendees to be fully vaccinated against COVID or a negative COVID test if they have a medical reason not to be vaccinated. We encourage individuals to wear masks in any setting where they are not socially distanced.