2017-11-01 / Spotlight News

A lifetime of music shared with Cambier Park audiences

By Kathy O’Flinn


Harris Lanzel, conductor and music director, leads the Naples Concert Band, which is celebrating its 46th season. Harris Lanzel, conductor and music director, leads the Naples Concert Band, which is celebrating its 46th season. Bob Tiffany was 10 years old when he played the trumpet at Gulfview Middle School. “This is where I started,” he said as musicians were tuning up for rehearsal.

Bob still plays the trumpet and he’s still rehearsing at Gulfview Middle but today he plays in the Naples Concert Band. He has been a band member for 27 years and was one of its first scholarship recipients.

With his $500 scholarship in 1983, his mom sent him to summer music camp. There he quickly was humbled. “I thought I was really good and then I showed up and there were 20 guys better than me and 10 girls,” he said. With that experience he was determined to improve. He went on to play in both his high school and college bands. Today he enjoys seeing the excitement of young students given the opportunity to play with the seasoned musicians of the Naples Concert Band.


The Naples Concert Band performs in eight concerts in season at Cambier Park with one in Riverside Park, Bonita Springs. The Naples Concert Band performs in eight concerts in season at Cambier Park with one in Riverside Park, Bonita Springs. Like so many of the musicians, an early childhood experience with musical instruments opened the door to life’s possibilities and a love of performing.

Howard Hawkins, president of the band, played in the Cincinnati Brass Band and admits to playing some kind of instrument since he was 5 years old. He began playing the tuba at age 9. “I found my niche when the band director asked me to try the tuba and I’ve been doing that ever since,” he said.

Jim Dickey, a retired clergyman, is the announcer and master of ceremonies and the only band member who does not play an instrument. His love for bands goes back to when he was a drum major in his high school band in Bellefontaine, Ohio, from 1950 to 1953. “I love this band. I love the sound, I love the people,” he said.

Harris Lanzel, in his 10th year conducting the band, is a retired high school band director, as are so many of the band members. Working with the 80-plus musicians ranging in age from 14 to their 90s, he oversees the rehearsals for the eight concerts a season. The challenge is putting together an entirely new program for each concert in just three rehearsals. “It’s a wonderful group of people to work with. They are enthusiastic; they want to be here,” he said.

For each concert the band draws a loyal following of 1,500 to 2,500, said Lanzel. Not deterred by threatening weather, the audience will pop open their umbrellas in the event of showers.

Lanzel selects the music for the eclectic programs, which include a vocal feature and an instrumental feature. “We try to have a little bit for everybody,” he said.

The band’s next concert, scheduled for November 12, has a patriotic theme followed by the December 3 Christmas concert. All concerts start at 2 p.m. at the Cambier Park bandshell and are free. Donations help defray expenses and help with the band’s scholarship fund.

For a complete schedule visit naplesconcertband.org.

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