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A Labor of Love for Conductor and Musicians: Bronxville Pops Concert Band Plays 44th Season of Concerts for the Community PDF Print Email

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By Carol P. Bartold, Senior Reporter     


Jul. 25, 2018:  Founded by Al Mingrone in 1974 after several village residents expressed interest in a community concert band, the Bronxville Pops Concert Band has enjoyed 44 summer seasons of bringing live music to the community.

The band will play a concert tonight at 8:00 pm on the front lawn of The Bronxville School. In case of inclement weather, the performance will take place in the school auditorium.

"I did everything when we started," Mingrone said. "I hired the players, got the music together, and came up with the programs for six concerts every year. It was a lot of work but, of course, I was younger then." To start the band, Mingrone added, he recruited some students and hired a few professionals to play. With time and a successful door-to-door fundraising effort in the downtown business district, the band grew into an ensemble "big enough to make a respectable sound" and made up of avocational players as well as professionals.

Initial funding was not easy to come by, Mingrone noted, but several seasons of funding from the Bronxville Chamber of Commerce allowed the group to become so successful that professional musicians from Westchester County wanted to join. Adding a few more professionals enabled the band to present more varied and interesting programs. Trumpet player Ron LoPinto noted that several of the Bronxville Pops musicians come from a concert band and orchestra background.

LoPinto, a graduate of the High School of Music and Art in Manhattan and New York University, joined the band in 1980 and hasn't missed a season since. A lifelong trumpet player and big band musician who also studied arranging, he played professionally until, as he said, "I got married and had to earn a living." That hasn't deterred him from playing whenever he can. Ron enjoys traveling to Florida, where he meets up with other musicians who have settled there, and playing almost every night of the week.

Several musicians in the band, Mingrone included, come from a career in music education. He was teaching elementary, middle, and high school students when he started the Bronxville Pops Concert Band. Mingrone taught at The Bronxville School from 1960 until he retired in 1989.

Sharon Slote, Bronxville Elementary School music teacher, began playing trumpet in elementary school because, she said, "I wanted to be better at it than my big brother." Primarily a brass player, she had learned to play clarinet and saxophone by the time she finished middle school. Slote joined the Bronxville Pops Concert Band when she was twelve years old. She studied music education and performance at the Crane School of Music in Potsdam, part of the State University of New York system. She earned her master's degree in performance and conducting.

Slote stood in for Al Mingrone and conducted the band's July 18 concert. "I like being able to help out," she said. "I play any instrument they need that week." In addition to trumpet, she has played the French horn and baritone saxophone in concerts. She also plays in the Greater Newburgh Symphony Orchestra.

Clarinetist Janet Corvini has played in the Bronxville Pops Concert Band for three seasons. She began her musical studies as a child in the Yonkers Public Schools. "My cousin played clarinet in the fourth grade, and I pretty much did everything she did," Corvini said. "When I got to fourth grade, that's what I wanted to do also." She played throughout middle school and high school, then continued her studies at Manhattanville College, where she majored in clarinet performance and music education. She earned her master's degree in clarinet performance at Lehman College of The City of New York University. She has played in several ensembles, including a chamber ensemble at the Turtle Bay Music School in New York City, Hunter College Wind Ensemble, Yonkers Pops Band, as well as bands in Mount Vernon and Mamaroneck. Corvini taught elementary school music in The Bronxville School from 2001 until 2016, when she retired.

In addition to providing musicians and leadership for the Bronxville Pops Concert Band, Ron LoPinto credits The Bronxville School with being most generous in allowing the group to use its band room, copier, and auditorium. "The school is one of the best resources we have," he said.

As with many arts organizations, funding for the band has been uncertain at times. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, the group depends solely on support from the public and local businesses through a mail campaign. Anyone wishing to support the band can send a donation to the Bronxville Pops Concert Band, P.O. Box 284, Bronxville, NY 10708.

"My heartfelt thanks to people who contribute," Al Mingrone said. "I enjoy conducting a nice group of musicians and having people come out and enjoy the music." 

Click here for photographs from the opening concert of the season.

Pictured here:  Founder and conductor Al Mingrone.

Photo by A. Warner


Editor's note: A member of the staff of MyhometownBronxville and her son are members of the Bronxville Pops Concert Band.

 

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Books & the Arts Directory

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Fine Arts Gallery of Bronxville

The Fine Arts Gallery is a beautiful gallery in the heart of our village. It sells original art and specializes in local artists from Bronxville past and present. It provides high end custom framing, art consulting, restoration and appraisals. Appointments are available upon request. It also sells the Historical Conservancy Journals which include a history of the village as well as the artists who have lived here and are presenting living here ($20/copy).

The gallery is open Monday - Saturday 8:30 am - 5pm (Closed Sunday)

99B Pondfield Road
Bronxville, New York 10708
914-779-5053


Objects & Images Fine Arts

44 Pondfield Road, Suite 12
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914-779-7979
info@objects-images.com
http://www.objects-images.com/home.php


The O'Silas Gallery at Concordia College

171 White Plains Road
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https://osilasgallery.org/

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Bronxville Public Library

The Bronxville Public Library traces its origins back to 1875, when it was a small lending library housed in a room attached to the “Bronxville Model School.” The Library was officially chartered in 1906 and moved into the Village Hall Building. The needs of the library grew with the town and, in 1942, a new standalone building was erected, which is where the Library is today. Over the years, the Library was renovated and expanded to meet the needs of the community.

The Library has wonderful resources for adults and children and offers a comfortable and relaxing environment. The Library also houses a fine art collection, consisting principally of Bronxville painters and sculptors.

The Library offers special events, art exhibitions, and programs for adults, young adults and children.  All events are open to the public, unless otherwise indicated.

The Bronxville Public Library
914-337-7680
201 Pondfield Road (Midland Avenue & Pondfield Road)
http://bronxvillelibrary.org/


Womrath Bookshop

Womrath Bookshop is a located in the heart of Bronxville village. In addition to selling books, the store also sell children's toys and holds readings both at the store and elsewhere in the community, such as at the Library.

76 Pondfield Road, Bronxville

(914) 337-0199

http://womrath.com/

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Ballet Arts-The Performing Arts Center of Southern Westchester

Established in 1977, Ballet Arts-The Performing Arts Center of Southern Westchester offers a complete program of Performing Arts education for all ages. 28 teachers conduct over 60 classes per week including Ballet with piano accompaniment, Jazz, Ballroom, Tap, Irish Step, Lyrical Dance and Hip-Hop. New this spring is Creative Movement and Story Time Dance for 2 and 3 year old boys and girls. Fitness classes include Zumba, Pilates & personal training. Classes are available for students ages 2 to Adult in every skill level. Private Dance, Voice & Instrument Lessons at our studio or in your home are available by appointment. Seasonal and Summer Performing Arts Camps.

Themed Birthday Parties-Children and parents enjoy play dance and music with our staff-you have fun and we'll clean up.

Centre Stage is our on site Dance, Gymnastics, Ice Skating and Fitness Apparel and Accessories Boutique. Specialty Dance footwear, Unique Costumes, Gifts and Collectables.
Sheran Daniele, Founder & Artistic Director.
504 Fifth Avenue, Pelham
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Concordia Conservatory

Concordia Conservatory, a preeminent center for music education in Westchester County, is a welcoming community where children and adults find lifelong inspiration and joy through learning, performing, listening to, and participating with others in music. Concordia Conservatory, a community outreach division of Concordia College, offers top quality music programs for early childhood, youth, adults and seniors. The Conservatory's vision is to enrich the lives of the people in our community through music.

Executive Director: Kathleen Suss

Concordia Conservatory of Music & Art

Concordia College-New York

Phone: 914-395-4507

Kathleen.Suss@concordia-ny.edu

www.concordiaconservatory.org


Crestwood Music Education Center

Crestwood Music Education Center, founded in 1987, has established itself as one of the most reputable and premier music schools in Westchester County with well over 800 students studying piano, guitar voice, Suzuki and much more. Their philosophy is to create a very positive, stimulating environment that gives each student the chance for creative self-expression. They believe in the importance of having a world-class faculty with extensive education as well as the teaching and performing experience that can only found in America's finest music schools.

453 White Plains Road
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