Chichester Alumni Band Celebrates 25th Anniversary – Open to all High School Alumni Band Enthusiasts

It was a cold night as the members of the Chichester Community Band

Open to High School Graduates, Chi Band plays songs at nursing homes, parades, community events.
Open to High School Graduates, Chi Band plays songs at nursing homes, parades, community events.

entertained children of all ages at the Annual Marcus Hook Holiday Parade.

Playing holiday tunes from Frosty the Snowman to Let It Snow, the band was greeted with smiles and applause from an audience for whom the music created a holiday festive mood. It’s was a special parade for the band because this year is the band’s 25th anniversary!

Founded as a Chichester High School reunion band, the band members now are a mix of alumni of high schools and college bands from throughout Delaware and Chester County, and out of state, and range in age from seniors in high school to senior citizens. The band welcomes all local musicians, no auditions needed,  just bring an instrument and a love of music.

Along with parades from Memorial Day to Halloween, and summer outdoor concerts, the band performs the first Tuesday of the month at local retirement and long term care facilities. Nancy Newman, activity director at Sterling Healthcare and Rehabilitation in Media, said her residents look forward to the Chichester Community Band concerts.

“Chichester band has entertained our residents multiple times, It is a vibrant musical presentation that our residents enjoy reminiscing  with the patriotic songs. After the band completes the program they go out into the audience to greet each resident. Our residents will stay up late just to hear the chichester band,”” said Newman.

State Representative Steve Barrar presented the band with a flag flown over the capitol building in Harrisburg and a certificate from the House of Representatives praising the band for its 25 years of community service.

          Band Director Audrey Murphy has masters in music from Temple University and taught school children for many years. After retirement, she and took her baton from the classroom to the Chichester Community Band.

“This is what music is all about,” Murphy said. “It can bring enjoyment and medical benefits to our listeners and the rewards that we get from performing the music are greater than anything that money could ever provide.”

It’s a fact that music invokes memories, according to Gene D. Cohen, MD, PhD, director of the Center on Aging, Health and Humanities at George Washington University and former acting director of the National Institute on Aging, explains how the brain reacts to a familiar piece of music.

“Memories are created when clusters of hundreds or thousands of neurons fire in a unique pattern,” Cohen writes in his book The Mature Mind.

He further explains that when you hear a catchy song your brain neurons light up. Later, when you hear the same song again, those original memory patterns are automatically strengthened. “The more often a particular pattern is stimulated, the more sensitive and permanent are the connections between the neurons in the pattern,” Cohen writes. “Not only does learning link neurons in new patterns, it also stimulates neurons to grow new connections.”

                    Playing an instrument increases memory, according to a study inThe Telegraph, an online magazine.  It reported, musicians have organizationally and functionally different brains compared to non-musicians, especially in the areas of the brain used in processing and playing music. If you learn how to play an instrument, the parts of your brain that control motor skills (ex: using your hands, running, swimming, balancing, etc.), hearing, storing audio information, and memory actually grow and become more active.

Other benefits include improved listening and social skills, sharpened concentration, reduced stress levels and improvement in time management and perseverance.

          The Chichester Community Band meets 7 to 8:30 p.m., Tuesday evenings, beginning Jan. 15, 2013 at Reliance Fire Company located behind Chichester High School. Come out, join up and toot your horn! Contact the band at:www.facebook.com/ChichesterCommunityBand

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