Antiphonal Brass Band to Play Concert on the Monument

June 3, 2017
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By Seth Daniel

A new tradition is forming for the annual Bunker Hill Concert on the Monument, and its forming around trumpets and trombones rather that tubas and crazy outfits.

The Bridgewater Antiphonal Brass Society will bring its 22-piece orchestra back to the Monument this year for the Saturday evening concert, June 10, on the eve of the big parade. The concert is seen as a great family time after supper for families in the Town and those preparing to march in the Parade. For decades, the Mummers band from Philadelphia, which featured tuba playing fellows in colorful orange outfits, played the concert and marched in the Parade. Last year, through a vote of the Parade Committee, the Mummers were out.

The Brass Band took their place, and this year Band leader Mike Palmieri said the band is very excited to return with a full brass repertoire for the hallowed concert.

“We’re excited to play that concert again,” said Palmieri this week. “We play a mix of music and it depends on how the crowd reacts to the early numbers in the concert. We can change it up and mix it up. We do traditional American marches like John Philips Sousa, and we’ll also throw in a few Spanish marches. We do a lot of pop tunes, some big band and dixieland. Obviously, because of the occasion, we’ll certainly be playing a lot of Patriotic numbers as well.”

Parade Committee organizer Bob Gillen said they are excited to bring back the band.

“They have played for the National Park Service for man-years at many places, including the Navy Yard,” he said. “The National Parks Service recommended them very highly and they are very entertaining.”

The Antiphonal Brass sound is very unique, he said, and they always get some people who are surprised by their signature brass sound.

“It’s different because it’s all brass,” he said. “There are no woodwinds. It’s more like a British Brass band except we use an E-flat alto horn. There are no baritones. We use a euphonium, a flugelhorn and four trombones too. It just comes out to be a very nice sound and people always say that it sounds different than what they’re used to hearing with a concert band.”

Palmieri said the Antiphonal Society has been playing in Charlestown for nearly 30 years, so they’re no strangers to the Town.

“There was actually a time when we marched in the Bunker Hill Day Parade, but we stopped because we had conflicts. June is a very busy month for us with so many events going on. We’re glad we can be a part of the festivities in Charlestown again.”

The Concert on the Monument starts at 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 10.