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Boston Town Band honors veterans in Hamburg concert

Members of the military held flags from their individual branches, while the the band played tributes to the service men and women.
HAMBURG — It was another fair evening for the Summer Concerts in the Park Series at Memorial Park in Hamburg. On Aug. 6, the Boston Town Band filled the Memorial Park stage with a full orchestral band, entertaining the crowd with patriotic and classical favorites. Corporate sponsors Evans Bank and The Evans Agency Insurance along with Kitchen Creations of WNY and Howard Stoll, M.D., made the event possible.

The Boston Town Band has been drawing audiences for 22 years. Band founder and organizer Herb Klein said that he was a barber for 57 years and it was conversations he had in the barbershop that led to the creation of the band. Klein, Gary Burdick and James Jehle originated the idea together.

Klein is a community leader who began as a town clerk. He started the practice of town decorating for Christmas in Boston, according to Klein’s longtime friend Don O’Bryant. Burdick is a minister and Jehle, now deceased, was a member of the Notre Dame University marching band.

The idea that there should be a musical tribute to the veterans on Memorial Day inspired the Boston Town Band. It started out with 20 members and has grown to 75, today. They play concerts in Orchard Park, Eden, Hamburg and other area towns. Band members come from Boston, Hamburg, Tonawanda, Collins and Fredonia, among other local areas.

The show started with Klein holding the American flag while the band’s vocalist Onna Wilson sang “The Star Spangled Banner” to a standing audience. Director Kyle Kohan led the full band in standards like the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

Chris Claason’s narrations as master of ceremonies introduced each new song with the history behind it and often a dedication. Some of the songs the band played included, “Come Back to Sorrento” and “They Can’t Take That Away from Me.”

Founder Herb Klein started the band after conversations in his barbershop.
Kohan shared directing duties with John Landers, who wrote the song, “Boston March.” He is a retired music teacher from the West Seneca school district and now serves as a children’s minister at The Wesleyan Church of Hamburg.

The band took an intermission, during which the audience and the players mingled on the park lawn. Klein called for service members from the armed forces to help with a second-half appreciation for the five branches of the military.

Represented were the United States Navy, Air Force, Army, Marines and Coast Guard. As the band played, each man who volunteered carried their service branch flag to a place of honor in front of the stage.

Klein offered words of thanks for all Veterans and members of the armed forces. Veterans were called to stand and the rest of the attendees showed their appreciation to them with smiles and applause.

This concert was the final one for the season for The Boston Town Band. The group will reconvene in October, according to Klein, to prepare for the Boston Valley School Christmas Concert. The date has not been set yet, but Klein said it generally falls on a Sunday in the beginning of December.

“Talented people are always seeking to join the Boston Town Band and I fear they will outgrow stage sets, but all are welcome,” Klein said.

The Summer Concert in the Park will comtinue with Crash Cadillac performing at Memorial Park on Wednesday, Aug. 20, for the final concert of the series.

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