When Richard Barnes began an 11-piece band 17 years ago, little did he know it would grow to 45 pieces and become the only German concert band in the Washington area.
Music director of the Concordia Tricentennial German Band, Barnes explains that in 1983, President Reagan set up a commission to celebrate the landing of Germans in Pennsylvania 300 years ago, and the band decided to increase its size to celebrate the tricentennial. "We got the name Concordia from the name of the ship the first Germans came over in -- the Concord. Concordia means harmony and that's exactly what the band is. We have no prima donnas," says Barnes.
Made up of local volunteer musicians, the band will perform today from 2 to 3 p.m. at the 19th-century National Bandstand on the west grounds of the National Museum of American History. Other groups are scheduled to perform in the summer Sunday series at the bandstand through September; a variety of ethnic band music will be featured this month.
Several marches will be included in today's program, but Barnes says most people have a misconception about the music his group performs: "Everybody thinks a German band plays only marches, but we play waltzes, polkas and operas -- all written by German composers, of course."