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Pelham Memorial Bands End Year on a High Note

PELHAM, N.Y. – The Pelham Memorial concert and stage bands came together for the final time this school year in a performance Wednesday that many in the audience called amazing and wonderful. The annual spring concert was also an emotional night, with a total of 27 seniors from the bands set to graduate in June.

“It’s tear-jerking. Usually I end up crying,” said band director Campbell Whitford, who was presented with a trumpet on behalf of the seniors. “But again, I’ve had them for seven years, so I’ve had them since they’re 12 years of age – now they’re 18. So, I’ve watched them grow from preadolescents to young adults.

"Good days, bad days, all of that, I mean that’s normal with kids. I’ve watched them grow up musically, intellectually, physically. It’s a privilege to be able to do that.”

The concert featured eight songs from the concert band, including “The Addams Family” by Vic Mizzy and “Puttin’ on the Ritz” by Irving Berlin plus six songs from the stage band, including “The Look of Love” by Burt Bacharach and “Son of A Preacher Man” by John Hurley.

Awards were also given to several seniors, and some took to the microphone to thank Whitford, in his 40th year in the Pelham school district, for “a great seven years.” Many mentioned how he inspired them to join the band in sixth grade and how grateful they were.

“It’s tough each year” to say goodbye, Whitford said. But he was proud of the bands, especially when it came to the concert band’s performance of “The William Tell Overture” by Gioacchino Rossini.

“I’ve done the 'William Tell' before with bands, but I’ve never felt like that version. They felt very confident,” said Whitford. “That is the best version my band has ever done.”

Ines and Chris Wessman watched their son Steven perform in his final Pelham Memorial concert. He plays the piano and is also in the percussion ensemble.

“It’s beautiful to see the outpouring of love for Cam Whitford – well deserving,” said Chris Wessman. He and his wife attended Pelham Memorial, and his sister was in Whitford’s high school band.

“Lot of history – we’re big fans,” said Ines Wessman, referring to Whitford.

Pelham official Will Cavanagh said events such as these are “the best part of being on the school board.”

“Our arts departments get wonderful things out of the kids,” said Cavanagh. “I enjoy going to the choruses, orchestra and the band. Our teachers are just marvelous, and you see how they inspire the kids.”

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