SMYRNA – Just as it has for the past 94 years, the Smyrna Citizens Band made its annual debut Monday night, getting another round of summertime concerts underway and this year, beginning the tradition with special recognition of one its most honorable members.
Before their annual kick-off performance, band members paid tribute to long-time Smyrna Citizens Band member and conductor Wilbur “Red” Raville for his commitment and influence to the program over the years. The bandstand above the Smyrna Public Library was decorated in old-time band member uniforms and the traditional patriotic decor for Monday’s opening performance, but focus was drawn to the podium’s latest signature piece: a new sign – designed by local artist Julian Button – unveiled by Town Trustee David Raimy, reading “The Wilbur ‘Red’ Raville Bandstand.”
“Everyone knows Red,” Raimy told the audience. “This is the 94th season of the Smyrna Citizens Band. It might surprise you that Red hasn’t been around all 94 seasons,” he joked. “Red’s retired from a lot of things and we’re really happy he decided to keep this.”
Raville, who’s been involved with the program for 50 years – and has played the role of band conductor for more than 20 years – was cheered on while the audience applauded, honked car horns and came together for a chorus of “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow.”..