NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. — A long running community band in New Port Richey is finally back together for the first time since before the pandemic.
What You Need To Know
- Director Henry Fletcher has been leading the Richey Concert Band for nearly 50 years
- His band is finally back together for the first time since March of 2020
- Their annual Christmas concert is at the River Ridge High School Center for the Arts on Sunday, December 5tth at 3:00 PM
Director Henry Fletcher has been leading the Richey Concert Band for nearly 50 years.
In all those years, last year was the first time he ever canceled a concert season.
“I always figured I could keep it going,” Fletcher said. “I didn’t know I’d have a year and a half rest. Which really bugged me, bugged me a lot.”
Fletcher kept busy though. During the pandemic, the longtime Pasco County music teacher put together something he always dreamed of: A music library to call his own. He created a room in his home, organizing 3,000 pieces of band music.
“I had nothing to do. So in that time, I built every shelf in there by myself,” Fletcher said. “I’m bragging. I’m proud to say I have 648 linear feet of space!”
Now his band is finally back together for the first time since March of 2020. They’ve been preparing for their annual Christmas concert, which is on Sunday.
Alto saxophone player Annmarie Hammond is one of many band members who’ve playing in the group for years. She started in 1997.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Hammond said. “Henry is a wonderful director. He makes it fun. He doesn’t get on to us too much but he also wants us to sound great. He’s always very encouraging. I guess that’s what’s keeps us coming back!”
Fletcher has welcomed folks of all ages and talents into the band for nearly 5 decades. The band has ranged in size from as small as 18 to as big as 80.
But at 76, he’s looking forward to keeping that music playing.
“I’ve loved it for the past 48 years,” Fletcher said.
The Richey Concert Band typically performs a concert a month starting in December through March each year. Hundreds usually turn out for each show.
The Christmas concert is at the River Ridge High School Center for the Arts on Sunday, December 5th at 3:00 p.m. A voluntary donation is the only admission fee.