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Bay Concert Band original band members Dr. Jim Fenton, Peg Rowley, James A. Griffiths and Wally Cramer.

Take a walk down memory land with the Bay Concert Band

October 23, 2016       Leave a Comment
By: Pati LaLonde

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The year was 1977 when four area musicians - Peg Rowley, Dr. James Fenton, James A. Griffiths and Walter Cramer - thought it would be a good idea for form a community band.

It was. A story in the Bay City Times asked former high school band members to come on board. Seventy-seven musicians attended the first rehearsal in September of that year and the Bay Concert Band - aka The Second Wind Band - was formed.

Come 7:30 p.m. Tuesday that band, with a few of those original members, takes to the stage of the Bay City Central High Auditorium to perform a 40th-season concert featuring some of the tunes played at that first concert. "We're going to be doing 'Original Dixieland Concerto,' with a soloist from the original group," said Peter Makar, musical director. "We will also be doing 'A Gershwin Medley,' 'Glenn Miller in Concert' and the Sousa march, 'Washington Post.'"

Tickets are $5. Students 6th grade and under are free. Tickets are available at the State Theatre, 913 Washington Ave. box office, Herter Music Center, 901 Washington Ave., Mclaren Bay Regional Gift Shop, 1900 Columbus Ave. and at the door the night of the concert.

One of those former members who will be on stage Tuesday is Jim Griffiths, now president of the group.

"It's been a great opportunity for former high school musicians to get together and play," he said. "For someone who hasn't played for a long time, it gave them a reason to get out their instruments. "We played music that was familiar to some of us," Griffith added. "A lot of it had been popular when we were in high school. It's still considered to be band music that has been timeless."

Griffiths best memory?

"It was especially nice for me, I got to play in the trombone section alongside my father," he said.

Besides playing four concerts a year, the group is also trying to locate former band members but is having a tough time. Former members or those who know where former members are can email Griffiths at

Original band director, Wally Cramer, leads a rehearsal of members of the Bay Concert Band in preparation for a concert. The band boasts members who are ages 18 to over 80.

Dick Hardy, third row, left, former Bay City Times columnist, practices with the Bay Concert Band.

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Pati LaLonde

Pati is a freelance writer with experience in all things pertaining to Bay County, Michigan.

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