Free concert to offer Dixieland jazz

Posted Sept. 03, 2008, at 7:53 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 7:18 a.m.

BANGOR, Maine— The sounds of New Orleans Dixieland jazz will be heard in a free concert at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 7, at the bandstand in Paul Bunyan Park, featuring Hal Wheeler’s Downeast Dixielanders.

The concert on Main Street is co-sponsored by the Bangor Daily News and Hollywood Slots in conjunction with the Bangor Parks and Recreation Department. The concert is free and no donations will be requested.

Hal Wheeler, a well-known trumpet player and band leader in Maine for the past 52 years, and who played with both the Bangor Band and the Bangor Symphony, said the concert is a kind of “Serenade to Septem-ber” as the last warm days of summer begin to fade away.

“Dixieland music is the happiest music I know,” Wheeler said. His Dixieland band has been a featured attraction at Bangor Raceway for the past 14 years, adding a festive musical atmosphere to the excitement of the races.

“What we in the band really love is when young children stop to listen, and even dance to the band’s music,” Wheeler said. “It proves what I’ve always believed: namely, that happy music makes people happy, regardless of whether they’re 3 or 93 years old, and it seems that Dixieland just has a universal appeal.”

Wheeler says the band will play for at least an hour, or until the audience leaves!

“The weather should be good at this time of year and we en-courage folks to bring a picnic lunch if they like and maybe a jacket, just in case it gets a little breezy,” he said.

Chairs will be provided by the Parks and Recreation Department for those who don’t bring their own, or choose to sit on a blanket on the grass.

Band personnel are Wheeler on cornet, Si Yates on trombone, Bob Haskell on clarinet, Gregg Osgood on piano, Otho Knowles on bass and Lynette Woods on drums.

“Lynette joined the band a couple of years ago after we lost Buddy Chappelle, who played with my groups for 38 years,” Wheeler said. “It was a tremendous loss when Buddy died and we’re dedicating this concert to his memory, but Lynette has proven to be a worthy successor. And it’s nice to have a lady in the band for the first time,” Wheeler said. “We’re now an Equal Opportunity Band!”

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