Honeoye Falls Community Concert Band plays at Lake George on July 16. Photo by Gina Mangiamele

BY TOM EXTER, second clarinet
Talk about a sweet gig! Your Honeoye Falls Community Concert Band played on the outdoor Shepard Park stage in the Village of Lake George, New York. The Saturday, July 16 concert represented the reboot of a long-standing annual community concert band festival sponsored by the Lake George Community Band.

The Honeoye Falls Community Concert Band, always a festival favorite, played after the Ballston Spa Community Band and before the Lake George Community Band in front of an enthusiastic summer audience. Every July for sixteen years, concert bands from the Northeast US and Canada, including the HFCCB, participated in the event. After a two-year Covid hiatus, the event this year featured just three bands instead of the usual 10 to 12.

Of course, a band festival is not just all play and no play play. Band members typically take full advantage of the surrounding Adirondack region. Many stay at campgrounds in tents, cabins, or recreational vehicles. Others enjoy the vintage motels that line the main drag.

During the days before the concert, HFCCB musicians in kayaks cruise down the Hudson River. Trumpet players and flutists in hiking boots trek up high or not-so-high mountain peaks. One year we hiked Sleeping Beauty Mountain only to be met at the top by a couple of piper-cub-type planes buzzing the rocky outcropping, to everyone’s surprise.

This year, a clarinetist took family members to nearby Pottersville to see the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves. After you hike the trail over the stone bridge and through the cave, you can pan for fool’s gold and other precious gems, just like in the old days. The less adventurous might enjoy a lake excursion on the Minne-Ha-Ha, a sternwheel steamboat that always blows its whistle on passing the Shepard Park stage.

History buffs can learn the gruesome details about life and death during the French and Indian War with a tour of Fort William Henry. In the late afternoon, you can spot band members lounging around a swimming pool or on Million Dollar Beach. Next to the beach, the fish will take your worm if you’re not careful. Kids, grandkids, and the odd grandparent can test their luck and skill in the arcade, where winning 500 tickets will get you some distraction and a little plastic trinket!

The food scene is diverse and generally delicious. Restaurants with a view of the lake offer a classic Adirondack vacation venue experience. Cuisines from around the world attract tourists from around the world. A traditional Italian family restaurant, Mario’s circa 1956, serves a true New York cultural emersion where you can enjoy downstate accents, and the best homemade tomato sauce, to your heart’s content.

If all this makes you yearn for an outdoor band concert, you are in luck! The final HFCCB band concert of the summer and the 2021-2022 season will be on Friday, July 29, at 7:30 PM in Harry Allen Park in Honeoye Falls. By tradition, an outdoor movie – “Sing 2” – will follow the band concert, all sponsored by the Village of Honeoye Falls and the Chamber of Commerce. This all is free and open to the public. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets. If musical adventures are your thing, dust off that old band instrument and join the band. Talk with Lindsey Borden, our illustrious band director, and tell her you know a Bb when you see one! For the latest information, visit our website or follow us on Facebook.

©2022 Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel

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