The Merrimack Valley Concert Band is a community concert band located in West Newbury, Massachusetts. The band rehearses every Tuesday night from 7:00pm-9:00pm in West Newbury, Massachusetts. Formerly known as the West Newbury Veteran Fireman's Association Concert Band, the organization harkens back to the days when rural communities throughout New England fought fires with volunteers, bucket brigades, and horse drawn/hand pumped fire apparatus.
As more modern equipment began to replace the "handtubs," towns formed associations to keep the past alive by competing in pumping contests, or "musters." It was shortly after West Newbury formed such an association, in 1922, that a Fife and Drum Corps was formed to accompany the handtub.
Following a period of inactivity, interest was renewed and this time a Brass Marching Band was formed, accompanied by baton twirlers and a color guard. It was during this time that the association acquired the handtub Gardner 4, which it owns to this day. After enjoying a decade of popularity, league championships, even a trip to the 1964 New York World's Fair, interest again waned and the band fell silent.
In 1989 the Band was again reformed for the purpose of participating in the 100th anniversary of the New England States Veteran Fireman's Association. This time the band took on a life of its own, and has remained active ever since, marching in parades and presenting concerts throughout the North Shore and seacoast New Hampshire regions. The Merrimack Valley Concert Band incorporated separately as it's own 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in April 2004 to further the Band's educational and charitable purposes. Our Band promotes the community concert band tradition as an important part of America's musical heritage.
The Band repertoire is a broad mix of popular, jazz, swing, patriotic and Broadway tunes taken from the 'Great American Songbook.' Instrumentation includes wind instruments, drums, glockenspiel - even a string bass. The band was formerly under the direction of Karen Mundo.
Members, who range in age from 12 to 90, represent many levels of musical ability and experience. A number of MVCB members also perform with other groups, including the Ipswich Summer Band, the Middlesex Concert Band, the Timberlane Community Band, the Gordon College Symphonic Band and the Salem State College Concert Band.
Anthony B. Beatrice