Virginia City Band to present concerts in Olcott Park

The band is shown in the Bob Baldrica Bandstand at Olcott Park. The gazebo is named in memory of longtime band director Baldrica.

VIRGINIA — The Virginia City Band is a century-old tradition, and the tradition continues with this year’s band members looking forward to presenting concerts in Olcott Park, the first on Thursday, June 23.

“Over the years various directors have organized a group of musicians who have loved playing their instruments and entertaining the public all of their lives,” said Bill Lavato, director with Ryan Freitas. “This summer we have 55 musicians from ages 16-85 that will be doing our six concerts at 7 p.m. on Thursdays in June and July at the Bob Baldrica Bandstand in Olcott Park.”

Each spring band members who played the previous year and area high school players recommended by their directors are sent an invitation to play. Freitas and Lavato have put together a band from “those players that are able to perform with us.” He said, “It is a great experience for the school students to sit alongside the ‘seasoned’ players. We practice on Tuesdays from 7 to 9 at the Iron Trail Motors Events Center. Both Parks Director Brian Silber and Events Coordinator Jim Hunt have made sure that both the park and center are reserved for the band and all chairs, stands and percussion equipment is moved and stored. Our first practice was a complete joy in our new facility with a sound that you will enjoy.”

Lavato said, “Marches are always a crowd favorite in our ‘Norman Rockwell’ setting at the park. We always perform a wide variety of music old and new. It has been a goal of ours to attract young players and young listeners. It's just great to be performing and hear the baseball games going on not too far away from us and youngsters using the playground equipment.”

The concerts will be uplifting and enjoyable music, said Lavato, and two concerts have been special favorites.

“One is the patriotic concert which will be on June 30 with our local Virginia Servicemen's Honor Guard presenting the colors. The last concert on July 28 will feature ice cream and soda provided by Phil Troutwine.”

He added, “Ryan, Bill and all the members of the Virginia City Band thank our mayor and city council for sponsoring us. Each year our audiences have grown, and we would like that to continue. In the event of rain at 6 o’clock, we will move the concert to the ITMEC where chairs will be provided by the center’s staff.”

Concert dates are at 7 p.m. Thursdays, June 23, June 30, July 7, July 14, July 21, July 28. In case of rain at 6, the concert will be at Iron Trail Motors Event Center.

The program listing the musical selections will be printed in the Mesabi Tribune each Wednesday.

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