Holiday music programs set for December

Pioneer Valley Brass will be performing four holiday concerts sponsored by the First Universalist Parish of North Dana. From left: Steve Babineau, trumpet; Tabitha Greenlees, horn; Susan Lemei, tuba; Dana Tandy, trombone; and Dick Tandy, trumpet.

Pioneer Valley Brass will be performing four holiday concerts sponsored by the First Universalist Parish of North Dana. From left: Steve Babineau, trumpet; Tabitha Greenlees, horn; Susan Lemei, tuba; Dana Tandy, trombone; and Dick Tandy, trumpet. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Report

Published: 12-01-2023 12:06 PM

Area residents can enjoy free holiday music programs this month, performances sponsored by a trust established nearly 100 years ago.

A public program of holiday music will be presented Saturday, Dec. 9, at 5:30 p.m. at the Federated Church of Hubbardston by Pioneer Valley Brass while a second will take place Sunday, Dec. 10, at 4 p.m. at the Orthodox Congregational Church of Petersham.

The programs are sponsored by the First Universalist Parish of North Dana, funded by a trust set up almost 100 years ago, before the town of North Dana was flooded to construct the Quabbin Reservoir. Sisters Catherine Mason and Mary Hale started the trust fund to ensure that the memory of the First Universalist Parish of North Dana would continue. Several descendants of the parish have kept it alive, with a small group meeting annually or as needed to conduct business.

Pioneer Valley Brass is composed of talented area musicians, and has been providing music to the North Quabbin area since the 1970s. Current members include Dick Tandy and Steve Babineau on trumpet, Tabitha Greenlees on horn, Dana Tandy on trombone and Susan Lemei on tuba.

The Hubbardston program will include A Carol Fantasy arr. by Iveson; It Came Upon the Midnight Clear, arr. by McKenzie; God Rest Ye Merry, arr. by Smith; Merry Christmas, Darling, by Carpenter; selections from The Nutcracker Suite: Overture; Arabian Dance and March by Tchaikovsky, arr. by Frackenpohl; Happy Xmas (War is Over) by Lennon; You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch; arr. by Bjornes Jr.; Where Are You Christmas, arr. by Stannard; Jingle Bells/Deck the Halls, arr. by Iveson; What Child is This? arr. by Niehaus; Most of the 12 Days of Christmas arr. by Roper; and We Wish You a Merry Christmas, arr. by Iveson.

The Petersham program will include Joy to the World, arr. by Marlatt; Deck the Halls (In Dulci Jubilo), arr. by Robertson; American Christmas Folk Suite, arr. by Holcombe Jr., Merry Christmas Darling, by Carpenter; Christmas Joy! by Choplin; Toys Medley arr. by O’Briant; Pat-a-Pan arr. by Marlatt; Feliz Navidad arr. by Bannister; Happy Xmas (War is Over) by Lennon; Christmas Garland arr. by Baldwin; Dixie Jingle Bells arr. by Stewart; The Christmas Song arr. by Price; and Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer, arr. by Tandy.

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The program is always subject to change.

Dick Tandy has played trumpet with Pioneer Valley Brass for many years. He received his bachelor’s degree in music education from UMass. He has performed with the Orange Community Band, the Petersham Brass Band, Greenfield Military Band, Fitchburg Military Band, Marty’s Reminisce Orchestra and the Pioneer Valley Symphony. He sang baritone with “The Grace Notes” Barbershop Quartet.

Steve Babineau played cornet at Gardner High School, then earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from Boston University while studying with Roger Voisin and John Coffey. A music teacher in the Narragansett School District, he formed and conducted the Narragansett Community Band. Babineau currently plays in community bands in Orange and Westminster. He conducted the Shelburne Falls Tuba Christmas for 14 years and was co-conductor of the MIT Concert Band for eight years.

Tabitha Greenlees, horn player with Pioneer Valley Brass, received her bachelor’s degree in music with honors from the Royal College of Music (London, UK) and her master’s degree in music education from the Boston Conservatory. She has performed with regional and community orchestras and bands in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, southern California and the United Kingdom. She is music director at Fitchburg High School, directing the band and annual spring musical, teaching AP Music Theory and a multitude of general music courses.

Dana Tandy grew up in a family of trumpet players, so when his father suggested the baritone or trombone, he enthusiastically embraced the change. He has performed with many North Quabbin area community bands as well as Marty’s Reminisce Orchestra, the Brattleboro American Legion Band and its affiliate, the Residential Band. Also, for many years he has participated in Tuba Christmas concerts. He sang bass with “The Grace Notes” Barbershop Quartet. He is brother-in-law to Dick Tandy.

Susan Lemei is playing tuba with Pioneer Valley Brass this season. She is a retired family physician. Prior to medical school she received a master’s degree in music history and criticism from the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University in 1987. Her undergraduate degree is from the Conservatory of Music at the University of the Pacific. She performed throughout the Baltimore-Washington area from 1985 to 1991. She currently plays with the Windham Philharmonic, the Keene Chamber Orchestra, the Springfield Community Band and A Natural Concert Band in Massachusetts. She has been the conductor of the Brattleboro American Legion Band since 2017.

Several services throughout the year are presented throughout the North Quabbin area as memorial tributes to the First Universalist Parish of North Dana. Other services this month include Sunday, Dec. 17, at 4 p.m. at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Greenfield, and Saturday, Dec. 23, at 4 p.m. at the Athol Congregational Church. Pioneer Valley Brass will provide music for all these programs.