Allan Hancock Concert Band Fall Pops Concert

The Allan Hancock Concert Band has been entertaining the community for over 70 years.  The 81 member band is made up of musicians of all ages, from all walks of life.  

According to Director Greg Stoll, the band includes Allan Hancock students, retirees, former teachers, active military, a retired fire fighter, an aerospace engineer, a locksmith, a realtor, a political cartoonist, a 92 year old clarinet and tenor saxophone player, and a 95 year old trumpet player (who also happens to be Greg’s father, Forrest Stoll).

“We even have a husband and wife, Patti and Tom Lynn, that have been members for fifty-four years,” shares Stoll.  A testament to the band and its current and past directors.

The band puts on several concerts per semester, like their most recent Fall Pops Concert held at First Baptist Church on Santa Maria Way at the end of September.  As is typical of their performances, the program ran the gamut, from booming marches to sweeping symphonies to pop hits.  Each show starts with a rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, and September’s concert also included music from George Gershwin’s An American in Paris, a Hoagie Carmichael tribute arranged by Warren Barker, Pop Rock Legends: Elton John, and the Emperata Overture by Claude T. Smith.

The audiences that regularly fill the pews are just as varied as the musicians on the stage and it’s not uncommon to see couples out on date night, kids cheering for their parents and siblings, and grandparents enjoying the music with their grandchildren.  Members, in their signature blue jackets, mingle and visit with friends during intermission, making the atmosphere casual and fun.

Once the show begins, Mr. Stoll alternates between bouncing and swaying at the podium, depending on the mood of the music, his baton expertly cutting through the air as he conducts.  Between songs he addresses the crowd, sharing personal stories (his wife voted for the Elton John piece), comments on the set list (“It’s not a Hancock band concert without a Souza march!”), and chuckle-inducing banter (“We brought in some special horns from Paris for that piece!”).  If you want the most chuckles for your buck, however, the annual Holiday Concert is a can’t-miss event.  This is when the personality of the band really shines and, as a bonus, you get to see them in funny hats and various holiday-themed costumery.  

The Allan Hancock Concert Band makes music accessible and entertaining, while at the same time putting on a show the calibre of which you would normally have to travel to a more metropolitan city to witness.  “[Performances like these] give us a chance to share a variety of music with a wonderful audience that enjoys and appreciates our efforts,” says Stoll.  “The benefits of music and other fine arts contributes to the happiness and well-being of all those involved.”

He adds, “It is an honor for me to work with such a talented set of musicians and wonderful people that make up the members of the Allan Hancock Band.”

The next two AHC Band concerts will be held at First Baptist Church on November 4th and December 1st.  Tickets are $5 for students, seniors, and AHC faculty and staff and $10 for general admission.  Shows begin at 7:30 pm.

Rebecca Ross reporting