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Greater Huntington Symphonic Band founder Tommy Thompson retiring after Sunday concert

September 9, 2018

HUNTINGTON - The Greater Huntington Symphonic Band, directed by Mr. Tommy Thompson, will perform its annual fall concert at 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 9 at 6 p.m. at the 14th St. gazebo in west Huntington.

This will be the last concert that will be directed by Thompson, who founded the community-based GHSB in 1990. Sunday’s concert will feature Thompson and include guest conductors Tom Chafin, Brian Cordle, Vernon Varnum and Matt Chaffins.

“This is my last concert as director of the GHS Band,” Thompson told the group in a Facebook message. “33 years is long enough. I want to thank all of the band members for the past 33 years who have given up their time to participate in the band. I started with 15 members playing at the Stella Fuller Settlement, and two years ago we got up to 80 members. Hopefully, Matt Chaffins can get some new blood in the band and continue a proud tradition of good band music. Once again thanks for your patronage and support of our band.”

The GHSB Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Frank Hayes, will also perform. Admission is free, but donations to support the purchase of band music will be accepted.

The jazz ensemble will open the program with arrangements of five Big Band Era standards: “That Old Black Magic,” “But Beautiful,” “Fly Me to the Moon,” “Moonlight Serenade,” and “Theme from New York, New York.”

The symphonic band will perform patriotic-themed selections including “American Salute,” and “Captain America,” “The Liberty Bell,” and “The National Game” marches.

They will also perform an arrangement of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” along with popular selections from movies and musicals including “The Great Escape,” John Williams in Concert, and Abba on Broadway.

Also featured will be “One More Time,” by Chick Corea and Montego Bay, with a Brazilian and Afro-Cuban feel, respectively, and a Duke Ellington big band medley.

The ensemble, directed by Tom Thompson since 1990, draws its membership from the greater Tri-State area, including Huntington, Charleston, Ashland, Ironton, and Russell-Flatwoods. It is a non-profit organization funded solely by donations to purchase music. Membership is open to anyone who has basic music reading and musicianship skills and loves to play band music.

Current members range in age from teens to octogenarians and represent all walks of life including students, retirees, and working professionals. Rehearsals are Thursday nights at 7 p.m. in the Vinson Middle School band room in Spring Valley.

Go online at https://www.facebook.com/groups/40663797342/ for more info on the GHSB

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