Ainspan to receive scholarship from town band

GUILDERLAND — The Guilderland Town Band  will perform its second concert of the season on Thursday, July 17, at 7:30 p.m. at the Guilderland Performing Arts Center in Tawasentha Park.  The program will feature Dan Ainspan as the recipient of the 2014 Donald E. Webster Scholarship.

Ainspan will perform as a soloist on the xylophone playing “Charleston Capers” accompanied by the band.

The Donald E. Webster scholarship was established after Donald Webster, who founded the band in 1969, retired in August 2001.  It is awarded to a resident of the Guilderland School District, a resident of the town of Guilderland, or a person who has played in the Guilderland Town Band for at least one year.

Applicants must be enrolled in college or graduate-level courses in the fall of 2014. The award is $400 and the winner is able to perform with the band. Applicants for the scholarship submit an application that includes an essay and an example of their playing.

Ainspan is a 2011 graduate of Guilderland High School and is now entering his senior year at the State University of New York College at Oneonta.  He is majoring in music industry with minors in audio production and percussion performance.

Although he became interested in playing percussion at the age of 3, he formally began studying when he was in fifth grade and has been playing ever since.  While he was in high school, he performed with the Empire State Youth Orchestras and Percussion Ensembles.  In college, he has played with the SUNY Oneonta Jam Band, Zappa Band, Classical Percussion Ensemble, and the Hartwick/Oneonta Rock Orchestra. 

Ainspan is currently in his seventh season with the Guilderland Town Band.  He said he enjoys “the sense of community from the band and the diversity that each member brings.  Of course, the great music we make and the opportunity to play outside at Tawasentha Park is very unique.” 

In addition to Ainspan’s featured solo piece, the concert will also feature, among other music, “Mambo” from West Side Story and the “Times Union March,” which was composed by Gerald Zaffuts for the Guilderland High School Wind Ensemble, under the direction of Kathleen Richards-Ehlinger.  Zaffuts is a former member of the Guilderland Town Band.

The Guilderland Town Band was founded in 1969 and is currently in its 45th season. The band consists of local professional and amateur musicians who come together each summer to provide quality free symphonic band music for the local community.  The band has been under the musical direction of Richards-Ehlinger since 2002. Richards-Ehlinger is a Guilderland native with an extensive conducting and education career.  

In case of inclement weather, the concert may be relocated to Guilderland High School.  Directions to Tawasentha Park and more information about the Guilderland Town Band may be found at www.guilderlandtownband.com.  The Guilderland Town Band concerts are part of the Guilderland Performing Arts Center’s Summer Concert Series. 
Editor’s note: Hillary Fink is a member of the Guilderland Town Band

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