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Suncoast Concert Band’s concert total reaches the quadruple digits

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With 80 years onstage, 79 seasons and 1,000 performances, the Suncoast Concert Band (SCB) has every reason to toast its longevity on Sunday (April 1).

The instrumental organization began enlivening crowds with its repertoire in 1932, and has been performing at Sarasota’s Payne Park Auditorium since 1963.

“This is a community band whose mission is to provide wonderful entertainment for the community at a very low price,” said Jim Tolley, the SCB’s publicity chairman. “I don’t know where else you could go to watch 55 musicians at $5.”

To honor the group’s upcoming milestone, Sunday’s musicians will lead off with John Philip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever.” The 90-minute concert will also feature classic hits such as “I Love a Parade,” “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” “Highlights from Gypsy” and Leroy Anderson’s “Belle of the Ball.”

“We are one of the best-kept secrets in Sarasota. We’re mostly all retirees, the average age being about 75, and we’re like a big family,” said Robert Stoll, the SCB’s music director and trombonist.

One of five bands in the country to be awarded the “Outstanding Community Band” Award by the Sousa Foundation, the SCB even has its own plaque at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

“This is a physical, mental, emotional, family-bonding activity to keep people active in their later life,” Stoll said. “The band is a fine bunch of musicians, and it’s the best bargain in town.”

The Suncoast Concert Band will perform at 3 p.m. Sunday at Payne Park Auditorium, 2100 E. Laurel St., Sarasota. $5. 907-0935; suncoastconcertband.org. Post-show will be a public benefit dinner at Word of Mouth, 711 S. Osprey Ave., Sarasota. 365-1800.

Last modified: April 4, 2012
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