Milton's Community Band received a $500 grant to purchase crash cymbals to bolster its performances, like on Memorial Day as pictured above. (File photo by Courtney Lamdin)

Milton’s Community Band received a $500 grant to purchase crash cymbals to bolster its performances, like on Memorial Day as pictured above. (File photo by Courtney Lamdin)

Milton Community Band’s summer season will start with a literal bang, once its percussion section gains a set of crash cymbals.

The Colchester-Milton Rotary awarded the band a $500 grant last month, which it will use to purchase the 17-inch cymbals, straps and a case, band co-founder Bobbie Moser said.

The cymbals will enhance the band’s musical selections, particularly patriotic numbers like marches, she said.

“I don’t know that we would play new music – we’d just play it better,” Moser said. “It makes the sound different and travels for effect. It’s just something our percussion section needs, and our whole band will benefit.”

The band has made do with a basic drum kit cymbal and hi-hat. The crash cymbal “is a bigger, booming sound,” Moser said.

The local Rotary figured significantly in the band’s formation in 2001, providing rollout funds to help the band purchase its own sheet music, once borrowed from the University of Vermont and various high schools, Moser recalled.

Milton’s grant was one of three music-oriented gifts from the Rotary; two others went to Colchester’s community band and chorus.

Rotary President Leora Black, a 10-year Rotarian and a Colchester business owner, also manages the Colchester Community Band and is a music supporter; that’s why she asked the local bands to apply, she said.

Many community bands rely on fundraising or donations to support the purchase of sheet music. (File photo by Courtney Lamdin)

Many community bands rely on fundraising or donations to support the purchase of sheet music. (File photo by Courtney Lamdin)

In her yearlong tenure, Black has brought the arts to Rotary meetings, including showings by the Colchester High School chorus and jazz band; just last week, a local artist led members in making a mosaic.

Black saw the grant as a way to give back. Her son, Jacob Morton-Black, was commissioned by Colchester’s band to write a piece for the town’s 250th birthday last summer, and she wanted to recognize the impact these groups have,
she said.

Besides, music just makes people happy.

“It just lightens up the entire audience,” Black said. “For that time being, you let go of what’s not going well, and you just enjoy it, and you see the performers enjoying it; it’s contagious.”

Arts and music are often cut in tight budgets, too. That’s why the gift is significant for Milton’s band, which relies on public and private sponsors.

Local businesses can get burnt out, and nonprofits often don’t have much to spare, Moser said. Colchester Band members have to fundraise to play, Black said. They’ll use the funds to purchase more music, and the chorus will hire a guest accompanist for its 30th anniversary celebration this year, Black said.

The cymbals are one of the Milton Community Band’s bigger purchases. Players bring their own instruments, but the band regularly needs and buys sheet music, which costs anywhere from $45 to $100.

Black was pleased to support Milton.

“It’s a donation that will last a long time,” she said.

Moser agreed, saying percussion, even at its most minimal, adds to music.

“A triangle – a little ding here and there – but it makes a difference,” she said. “Otherwise, why would the composer put it in?”

Miltonians can hear and see the crash cymbals in action at the band’s Memorial Day performance, Monday, May 26 at the town offices. Other summer events include the July 4th concert at Bombardier Park, a July 26th show at Sand Bar State Park and an August 19th end-of-summer performance back at Bombardier Park.

Learn more about Milton Community Band, including how you can become a member, at www.miltonband.net.