“It’s a blessing to have a creative outlet,” says Repasz Band Assistant Conductor Theo Lentz about his return to the ensemble after an extended hiatus.
As the renowned Williamsport band prepares for its May 24 concert at the Community Arts Center, the return of Lentz is just one of many changes for this 191-year-old group.
The past two years saw a few COVID-canceled concerts—plus virus-restricted rehearsals that made it tough to stay in shape musically; but the Repasz Band is now back to regular weekly practice. In the interim, the group gained several new members, along with a new home at the Olivewood Complex in Montgomery.
Following a holiday concert in December 2021, this upcoming show completes Repasz’s return to its annual pair of regularly scheduled CAC concerts in the spring and at Christmas. The May 24 program offers marches, classics, movie music, a tribute to Ukraine, narration by Williamsport’s mayor and two pieces by a Mansfield University graduate.
“The Ukrainian National Anthem and ‘Kyiv 2022’ make up our musical salute to the heroic people of Ukraine,” says Repasz conductor Jeff Dent. “The Kyiv piece is a brand-new composition by Brian Balmages; not only does it honor these brave men and women, but also, all funds from the sale of his work support their efforts.”
Lentz, meanwhile, will conduct the Sousa march “Gallant Seventh” and a medley from film composer Jerry Goldsmith—covering scores for “Air Force One,” “Rudy,” “First Knight” and “Star Trek: The Motion Picture,” which became the theme for TV’s popular “Next Generation.”
“I greatly enjoy the Goldsmith medley, as it showcases excellent music influential in television and film,” said Lentz, who previously co-conducted two Repasz shows at the CAC before taking a job 120 miles away.
“In 2018, I stepped down to take a position as Assistant Director of Athletic Bands at Saint Francis University in Loretto, Pa.,” Lentz said. “I wished that I could have maintained both duties, but the 2-hour commute one way would have proven difficult. After a fulfilling year of working with the students of SFU, I moved back home for personal reasons.”
Proficient on euphonium, trombone, piano, organ and bassoon, Lentz works as a piano-tuner and repair technician at Robert M. Sides in Williamsport. He has pitched in with local drama for the Community Theatre League both onstage and off, and he holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from Mansfield University—which gives him something in common with one of the composers on the May 24 program.
To be conducted by Dent are “Gently Flows the Amber Grain” and “Fanfare for the Everyday Super Heroes”—both penned by Brian S. Story, who also holds a B.S. and a Master’s from Mansfield. Now retired after 40 years of teaching—including a stint in Corning, NY—Story plans to attend the Repasz show that evening.
Williamsport Mayor Derek Slaughter will handle narration for Story’s “Fanfare” piece.
The band’s other assistant-conductor, Jessica Lewis, will lead a Spanish march called “El Caballero,” plus the furiously exciting “Dies Irae,” from Giuseppe Verdi’s “Requiem.”
Dent’s selections are rounded out by Delibes’s “March and Procession of Bacchus,” “The Star-Spangled Banner” and of course the renowned “Repasz Band March,” which always concludes any Repasz concert.
“After the forced hiatus caused by the pandemic, it’s refreshing to be back and creating live music in person,” said Lentz. “I feel the Repasz Band will continue to grow and recover with its dedicated membership.”
The 7:30 p.m. show is free and open to the public; for more information, visit repaszband.org.