Join the Bicentennial Marching Band | Maine 200

  • January 06, 2020

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An open letter from John Neal, BME, MM
Director, Maine Bicentennial Marching Band

Dear Colleagues,

As a former Maine marching band director (Edward Little H.S. Band 1985-1995) and collegiate marching band instructor, I am writing today on behalf of the Maine Bicentennial Commission with an exciting opportunity for students and community band members.

The commission is planning Maine’s 200th birthday celebration in 2020, and one of the signature events will be the State of Maine Bicentennial Parade in Lewiston-Auburn on Saturday, May 16, 2020. The Bicentennial Commission (Maine200) is organizing a statewide inter-generational community marching band for this parade, which I have the honor to direct. I invite you and your members to take part, and I ask that you make this opportunity available to all your players, drum majors and color guard members.

Here’s how this band will work: Interested participants will go to the State of Maine Bicentennial Parade website,, register for the event,and download two pieces of music. They will learn these pieces on their own (or with your help), and then convene for two rehearsals in the spring of 2020: one to be held at regional sites across Maine (one each in northern, eastern, central and southern Maine – details to follow on the website), and one full-band rehearsal, a day-long event to take place in Lewiston/Auburn on Friday, May 15. These six-hour regional rehearsals will include both music and color guard practice along with marching instruction. No prior marching experience is necessary. Participants will need to commit to the one regional rehearsal and to the Bicentennial Parade weekend events, May 15-16; and will receive a Maine200 hat and t-shirt (our Bicentennial Band uniform) as a souvenir of their participation.

We know that any high school band member participating in the All-State Music Festival will be unable to participate in the Bicentennial Parade Band – but every other high school, university or community band member in Maine, as well as unaffiliated musicians of all ages, are cordially invited and strongly encouraged to take part.

As a Maine music educator and high school band director since 1978, I am excited to be leading this band, and am hopeful that every eligible instrumentalist, drum major and color guard member will be similarly enthused. I also invite any interested band directors and color guard instructors, not already committed to All-State, to assist in this once-in-a-lifetime event.

Thank you for your consideration of this unique opportunity and for your help in promoting this event among your members.

Gratefully yours,

John Neal, BME, MM
Director, Maine Bicentennial Marching Band
Director of Music, Maine Arts Academy­



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