N. John Lanni will lead the Santa Monica College Emeritus Band in a free ìBroadway Showtimeî concert scheduled at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 22nd, at the Broad Stage at SMCís Performing Arts Center.
Lanni will become only the second conductor/director in the bandís 41-year history. He succeeds Wallace Umber, 84, who founded and led the band for four decades before retiring in February in Santa Barbara.
ìIím thrilled to be following in Wally Umberís footsteps, and itís more than a little humbling,î said Lanni, 73, who has played tenor saxophone in the band for 30 years.
ìWally Umber is an institution in himself,î said Emeritus College associate dean Maggie Hall. ìHis dedication to the students in the band is legendary among the players.î
The 60-member band will perform Broadway Showstoppers, highlights from Camelot, and selections from such classic musicals as Oklahoma and The
Music Man. In addition, marches, which have become signature numbers for the band, will be performed.
Last year, the SMC Emeritus Band, which is recognized for its intergenerational makeup and
playersí staying power, had its 40th anniversary.
The group, whose modest roots reach back to 1968 at Venice Adult School, has become a community institution, with its free concerts featuring repertory
that includes classical, show music and Big Band jazz.
ìI feel a lot of nostalgia and I will miss the directorship and camaraderie of the band,î said Umber, a World War II Army veteran who fought in the Normandy invasion.
Umber says he has loved teaching people all kinds of music through his directorship and through the performances, particularly compositions by John Philip Sousa, who is frequently featured in the groupís concerts.
Lanni has taught in the Los Angeles Unified School District for 30 years, mostly at Ralph Waldo Emerson Middle School in Westwood, where he is the director of the music department. He directs the only middle school marching orchestra in Southern California.
The band performs three times a year at SMC or nearby venues and also has one or two community concerts each year at such locations as the Third Street Promenade.
Information, (310) 434-4306.