On Tuesday evening, five area high schools sent musical groups to join Auburn in honoring the late John Waage, the former band teacher at David Prouty who died earlier this year from colon cancer. The goal was to build a Memorial Scholarship in his name, and the fund now has a positive balance.

The Tantasqua Regional High School Concert Band, under the direction of Robert Raymond, performed first by playing Avenger March and Acceptance. The music was both emotional and powerful.

The Millbury High School Jazz Combo (Daniel Ferreira, Director) was next and performed Footprints and Chameleon. Both were excellent, and the sextet showed great skill.

Steven Trombley directed the Grafton High School Concert Band and their performance of Rhosymedre and Arabian Dances. This group is very accomplished.

The David Prouty High School Marching Panther Band, under the guidance of Francis Fazio, played a medley of Stevie Wonder songs. The band is small, but skilled and features an intense drum line.

The Uxbridge High School Concert Band, with Kathleen Penza directing, played Simple Gifts – Movement 4 and the Midway March. This was a very nice performance and the common ties worn by all the young men looked great. This is in today’s slide show.


Virginia Bailey then directed the Auburn Senior High School Concert Band in their performance of Afterlife and El Camino Real, two pieces that displayed the versatility of this group.

Afterlife was dedicated to John Waage, and Bailey read the introduction by composer Rossano Galante, “Since the beginning of time man has pondered what happens when our physical body dies. Some believe we go to Heaven. Others doubt its existence entirely. Then there are those who have had near death experiences and live to tell their stories. This composition starts delicately as peacefulness returns to the soul. It intensifies as we approach our new consciousness, constantly modulating between the two as we gain knowledge of our new surroundings.”
The finale to the concert was a combined band of SWCL musicians, about 130 in all, and they performed Gustav Holst’s First Suite in E flat. This was well done, and a short video shows the conclusion of the piece.

Virginia Bailey told Auburn Mass Daily that some of these bands compete intensely during school year, and “It’s great to come together and not be competitive.” It’s also great to come together for a beloved teacher who left this earth too soon.