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Ashby Man Plans Documentary on Town Bands, Concerts

December 17, 2018
Harold Chattaway, of Ashby, talks about his plans for an upcoming documentary while standing near the Ashby bandstand on the Town Common. SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE / JOHN LOVE Sentinel and Enterprise staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

ASHBY -- When resident Harold Chattaway looked for inspiration for his first documentary, he thought about the decade he has spent going to concerts on the Town Common.

The software engineer who programs robots wanted to take his passion for film and history and focus on town bands and concert series in Ashby and the region.

“This has been a tradition in New England for ages,” the 55-year-old said. “It’s really a nice combination of my interests.”

Chattaway is looking to film a short documentary about New England bands and concerts. His goal is to incorporate the history of the bands and talk to people who attend the performances about what the events mean to them.

He likes the concerts in Ashby because they are a nice community activity with great music. The Town Common is also a great place to be in the summer, Chattaway added.

“I appreciate the talent in the concerts and from people who can play,” he said. “I’ve always been amazed by what people can do what they do with music.”

For the documentary, Chattaway plans to interview members of Ashby’s band, like Director Bob Healey and member Bill Williams, who also directs the Fitchburg military band.

During the winter he will contact people to be a part of the documentary, research, and start interviews. By the summer, he wants to get live shots of performances at the bandstands and talk to attendees.

On Facebook, Chattaway started connecting with people in the area and letting them know about the documentary. He has posted in town group pages and has gotten responses from Ashby residents who have shared stories about the concerts and pictures of family members who were part of the town band.

He wants to follow up with some of those people to see if they are interested in being in the documentary.

To help with outreach, Chattaway looks to set up a website for people to submit photos, videos, and stories. He also set up a Twitter page to give updates and show the work he’s doing.

Chattaway would also like to branch out to neighboring towns and cities, like Fitchburg, Pepperell and Townsend, and later would like to learn more about the town bands and concert series in New Hampshire and in communities closer to Boston.

Depending on interest, the documentary could become a series, he said.

Chattaway plans on shooting most of the documentary himself and editing it on his own.

He has shot short films, which include drone shots of the center of town and video of the Ashby band’s last show of 2018. Those and other work can be found on his YouTube page.

The self-taught filmmaker has been interested in movies since he was a kid.

In the past five years, Chattaway has been serious about making his own videos.

To learn about filming and editing, Chattaway has listened to film podcasts, watched how-to videos on YouTube, taken online courses, and read books. He also likes to buy DVDs so he can watch the special features about making the films.

Chattaway plans to set up a Kickstarter to help pay for a professional sound person and a better camera that can capture scenes in low light.

Beyond sharing the documentary in the community, Chattaway would like to present it on a larger scale.

“With what I have I my head ... and the story I think I could tell and the shots I could get out of it,” he said, “I think I could get into a festival.”

Follow Mina Corpuz on Twitter @mlcorpuz.

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