As the Quakertown Band celebrated its 130th anniversary, Maynard Cressman of Milford Township, a trumpet player with the band, also celebrated what he called "a milestone" in his life.Cressman, who is also the current president of the Quakertown Band, has been playing trumpet with them for 50 years. To mark the occasion, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives awarded Cressman a citation for his years of service with Bucks County's oldest musical organization. State Representative Paul Clymer (R-Bucks) presented the citation to Cressman during the Quakertown Band's anniversary concert at the Quakertown Community High School on August 19.
In an e-mail interview, Clymer said that Cressman's "years of experience and dedication make Maynard an outstanding role model for younger musicians... We are grateful to Maynard for sharing his musical talents, enabling the legacy of the Quakertown Band to continue into the 21st century."
Cressman started playing trumpet when he was eight years old and took private lessons from Worman M.
Shelley from 1947 until 1955.
Cressman admits that when he was younger he was kind of a "shy guy" but as he got older and became a more experienced trumpet player, Shelley allowed him to play solos with the Citizens Band of Quakertown (of which Shelley was a conductor) so that Cressman would gain more confidence and overcome his bashfulness.
One particular trumpet solo brought Cressman to the attention of the Quakertown Band. In 1957, Cressman played "Come Back to Sorrento" at the
Quakertown High School's Spring Band Concert. Ralph Moyer, who was the conductor of the Quakertown Band at the time, attended the concert and took notice of Cressman's talent. Moyer invited him to come over to the Quakertown Band and Cressman accepted. Moyer allowed Cressman to play "Come Back to Sorrento" with the band for the rest of the summer.
Cressman recalled that Moyer encouraged him to play many solos with the band.
"Sometimes he would ask me, 'Well, what would you like to play? What's a good trumpet solo?'," said Cressman, "I would mention things like 'Java' and 'Around the World.' He would get a record and he would transcribe it off of the record and arrange it for the band. That was great. It was wonderful how he could do that."
"And what's a shame," continued Cressman, "is a lot of that was done in manuscript form and we can't find the arrangements. We don't know where they're at."
Cressman recalled one particular piece called "Chunka" that Moyer arranged and that Cressman originally performed in 1959 as a trumpet trio with Ralph Hillegass and Robert Gilkeson. Unlike Moyer's lost arrangements, "Chunka" was rediscovered in the form of Moyer's conductor's score. Cressman gave the score and a record of the song to Ken Moyer, nephew to Ralph, to arrange the song so Cressman, Mark Hasson and Eric Bryant could play it at the band's 130th anniversary.
The Quakertown Band had five conductors since Cressman joined and he has enjoyed playing them all, "They all had their strengths," said Cressman, "different techniques for getting the best out of the band." However, Cressman was always fondest of Moyer for the "lighter music that he wrote for the band."
When asked why the Quakertown Band has endured for so long, Cressman replied that the organization "has a lot to offer. The surrounding communities know about the band, and any musician who may be retired knows about us. I think we have a good reputation, and it continues to draw people in."
Cressman also said that while many older musicians join the band, younger musicians are just as important, "We give opportunities to the talented younger kids. All of the teachers in the Quakertown School District know about the band, so if they have a very talented musician that they feel could do well with us, they're recommended to us."
"You need to bring in the younger ones to keep [the band] going," continued Cressman.
The honor recently bestowed upon him by the House of Representatives gave Cressman "a good feeling" and a "sense of accomplishment." Even though Cressman plans to step down as president at the end of the year, he still intends to keep playing with the band he joined 50 years ago.
"Health wise, if I could do another 10 years, that would be great," said Cressman.
If you would like more information about the Quakertown Band, you can visit their website at www.quakertownband.org.
Eric Asaris is a freelance writer for The Free Press, he can be reached at email@example.com.