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Community bands showcase in Schuylkill County

People may think a battle of the bands is a bunch of rock groups jamming out to be the winner, but the Walk In Art Center in Schuylkill Haven has put a different spin on the phrase and is holding a Battle of the Community Bands on Saturday, June 15, from 2:30 to 8 p.m.

“It’s not really a battle, per se,” WIAC Director Jacqueline Engel said. “It’s a celebration of the great community music organizations in the area.”

Schuylkill County is home to several “town” bands, and the idea came to hold a festival of sorts to get people to check out a few of them all in one place.

The event will begin with pop a cappella vocal arrangements from the SchuylGurlz at 2:30. People who have seen “Pitch Perfect” will recognize the group’s style. It consists of eight ladies under the direction of Jacqueline Engel. Expect to hear songs by Cyndi Lauper, Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin and more.

At 3:30, the 45 members of the Pine Grove Community Band will perform under the direction of Barbara M. Hikes. Begun as The Liberty Band in 1904, it plays at observances and services in the area. Their repertoire is a mix of patriotic and show tunes, polkas, tangos, TV themes and other classics.

The Cressona Band appears at 4:45. It began in 1902 a currently has 50 members under the direction of principal conductor Craig N. Shoener and associate conductor John P. Shoener. The group plans to play a mix of songs from the Beatles to Ray Charles to John Philip Sousa.

The evening will conclude two hours of the M&J Big Band, starting at 6. The group is under the direction of bandleader John P. Shoener, associate bandleader Jacob Shoener and assistand bandleader Josh Kovich. The group formed in 2010 and has 18 members. They’ve played all over Southeastern PA and have planned an eclectic program.

Tickets for the day are just $10 and concert-goers are free to come and go as they like. Those attending should bring a lawn chair (and shade if they like) and food and beverages will be available for purchase. Visit and click the event registration button for tickets and information.

To learn more, visit the WIAC website or

Source: Berkshire mont

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