Posts Tagged ‘Harry Eichorn conducts’

Harry Eichorn will conduct the Atlantic Wind Ensemble on Saturday, May 25, Memorial Day weekend. 8 pm in the GA. Paul Goldfinger photo. ©

Re-post from 2013.    Harry Eichhorn will conduct the Atlantic Wind Ensemble on Saturday, May 25, 2013.   Memorial Day weekend. 8 pm in the Great Auditorium.  This will be his 61st summer season.  Paul Goldfinger photo. ©

Harry Eichhorn grew up spending summers in Ocean Grove. His family owned a house here for over 100 years.  As a high school student, he was a lifeguard at South Beach. “The South Beach was less crowded and a better place to meet girls,” said Harry, who is 86 years old and will be entering his 61st season as conductor of the Ocean Grove Summer Band, which appears on Wednesday nights at the Boardwalk Pavilion. There his 65 musicians play everything from Berlin to Beethoven.  The sound of their music bubbles up and out over the beachfront, harmonizing with seagulls,  surf and summer breezes.

Harry has his fans who don’t fail to miss one of these summer concerts and Harry doesn’t disappoint them.  He’s always wearing pressed pants, shirt and tie. He always has a joke or two, and the “boys in the band”  (and ladies too) humor him because there’s something touching and reassuring about traditions and music that have staying power despite time passing by.  The beach, the boardwalk, ocean and even the town of Ocean Grove itself  also echo that theme.

Summer Band musician warming up by the Pavilion. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

Summer Band musician warming up by the Pavilion. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

On Saturday, May 25, in the Great Auditorium, Harry Eichhorn will be conducting the Atlantic Wind Ensemble in a free Memorial Day concert.  The Ensemble is smaller than the Summer Band and it performs all year round.   All the musicians are from the “shore area” and many are professionals–including 8 music teachers.  Unlike an orchestra, there are no strings.  Clarinets  and flutes help take the place of violins, and there is only one person per part, although they double up in the trumpets and clarinets.

Harry likes to vary his programs, but there is a certain similarity  to prior concerts.  There are always a few Sousa marches, two major works by a classy composer like Beethoven, and two Broadway medleys, one of which is current.  This year he will be doing “Les Miserables.”  In fact, there is a song in Les Mis which could be Harry’s theme song.  It’s called “Master of the House.”  They will also perform “The Armed Forces Salute,”  “The Spiritual Rhapsody” by Yoder and “Five Spirituals for Piano” featuring first clarinetist Linda Freilick on piano.

The concert will include the Festival Chorus, a group that has about 45 vocalists.

In looking back over the years, Harry recalls growing up in East Orange.  His father was a musician, and Harry received his BA at Montclair State College and his Masters at Rutgers and Trenton State.   He taught  music at Neptune H.S. for a few years and then 36 years at Manasquan High.  Some of the current musicians were his students.  Two of his children play in the group.  Harry’s main instrument was the trumpet, although now he mostly conducts.

Summer Band (undatet---probably 1950's) Harry is on the right, back row. Summer Band (undated—probably 1950’s) Harry is on the right, back row.  Click right for more detail. Courtesy OGCMA

There is only one musician left in the Summer Band who was there in 1953 when Harry started the tradition.  Her name is Cleta Weber White, and she plays the trumpet.  Harry says that when he began, he had a vocalist in his chorus who sang with John Phillip Sousa.   Oh, and speaking of Sousa, of course Harry will conclude with America’s March:  “The Stars and Stripes Forever.”   And as for Sousa, his ghost will probably be having ice cream in Days while tapping his toes to Harry’s beat and listening carefully to that Stars and Stripes piccolo solo penetrating the salty night air.

The Memorial Day free concert begins at 8 p.m. and donations will be accepted.

—Paul Goldfinger, editor @Blogfinger

UNITED STATES MARINE BAND:  John Phillip Sousa’s  “Washington Post March.”     (Reminder:  Visit Sousa’s portrait at the Historical Society of Ocean Grove on Pitman Avenue.  Sousa is still hanging around in the Grove.)

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Ocean Grove Summer Band in the Boardwalk Pavilion. 7/5/15. By Jean Bredin, Blogfinger.net staff. ©

Ocean Grove Summer Band in the Boardwalk Pavilion. 8/5/15. By Jean Bredin, Blogfinger.net staff. ©    Click to enlarge

Re-post from 2015.   “Around Town With Jean:”

“Harry Eichhorn’s Summer Band is a treasure. It is reminiscent of days gone by.
Where else can you hear a rousing song, feel the ocean breezes, then stroll for ice cream?”

–Jean Bredin, Blogfinger staff.

Here is a link to a 2013 article which we posted about Harry :     Wild about Harry


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