About The Band

Charles H. Neidhardt

Charles H. Neidhardt, Conductor

Mr. Neidhardt is a graduate of Duquesne University and received his Master’s Degree from Penn State University. He is the former band director at Arcola Intermediate School and served as Music Department chairperson for the Methacton School District. Throughout the years, his bands at both Lower Merion and Methacton have performed and received awards at state conferences, local events, festivals and competitions. Mr. Neidhardt previously taught music in the Souderton and Lower Merion School Districts before retiring in July 2005 from Methacton.

Mr. Neidhardt is immediate Past President of PMEA having formerly served as President of District 11 PMEA. He has served as All State Chair, hosted the All State Band as well as All State auditions and served as Chair of the State Adjudication Festivals. He is a member of Phi Beta Mu Honorary Bandmaster Fraternity, a recipient of the “Citation of Excellence” award from the National Band Association, an Honorary Lifetime member of “Tri-M” the National Music Honor Society, and is listed in “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers”. Mr. Neidhardt performs as a member of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra, the Montgomery County Concert Band, where he is also the Director, the Tubafores Tuba Quartet, and does additional freelance work in the Philadelphia area. He maintains a large private studio and many of his private students have been members of the District, Region, All State and All East Bands and Orchestras.

 


Ryan Pongras

Ryan Pongras, Assistant Conductor

Ryan Pongras is a 2001 graduate of West Chester University with a BS in Music Education. He holds a Masters of Education from Cabrini College and has completed post graduate work in music education with The University of the Arts. From 2003 to present, he has taught 4th and 5th grade instrumental music in the Souderton Area School District. His arrangements and original compositions have been performed by area local young bands in addition to the PMEA District 11 Elementary Honors Band and Orchestra. Ryan joined the Montgomery County Concert Band in 2005 as a trumpet player. He was named co-assistant director in the fall of 2014. Away from playing and conducting, Ryan lives in Telford with his wife Kristine, daughter Brynn, and son Cole.

Flute

Helaine Brown-4H Educator (ret)
Jody Celio-Accountant
Elaine Copeland-Music Educator (ret)
Erin Cribbs-Registered Medical Assistant
Julee Gilbert-Belsterling-Consultant(ret)
Trisha Kolodziejski-Elementary Educator

 

Oboe

Chuck D’Ardenne-Pharmacist
Michael Langston-Music Educator

 

Bassoon

James Carnal-Student
Aaron Datsko-Music Educator
Maggie Oswald-Music Educator

 

Clarinet

Donna Berger-IT Consultant (ret)
Mark Carlson-Family Counselor
Rich Copeland-Financial Officer (ret)
Don Dilmore-Library Director (ret)
Jim Douglass-Educator (ret)
Robert Edgar-Electrical Systems Eng.(ret)
Nancy Frustaci-Accounting Associate
Brooke Kuhlen-Office Manager
Abra Perrie-Realtor
Terri Rice-Music Educator (ret)
Lois A. Russo-Music Educator (ret)
Maria Souder-Home Maker
Eric Streckfuss-Chemist
Deb Swiren-Music Educator (ret) 

 

Bass Clarinet

Jamie Brosof-Optometrist
Jennifer Monaghan-Music Educator
Al Skipper-Videographer

 

Alto Clarinet

Nancy Frustaci-Accounting Associate

 

Eb Clarinet

Eric Streckfuss – Chemist

 

Alto Saxophone

Ray Orehowsky-Construction Manager
Gail Hartmann-Accountant

 

Tenor Saxophone

Chris Del Sordo-Software Engineer
Edward Gardiner-Engineer

 

Baritone Saxophone

Chuck Blackledge-Manager (ret)
Bill Brandis-Transportation Services

 

Euphonium

Corinne Esken-Daycare Director
Jan Jochems-Civil Engineer
Bill Leslie-Pharmaceutical Executive (ret)
 

Horn 

Diane Frank-Graphic Designer (ret)
Neil Goldberg-Engineer
Mickie Hastings-Music Educator
Steve Hendricks-Home Inspector
Art Henry-Software Developer (ret)
Angela Hoffmann-Interior Designer
Marcy Klugman-Music Educator (ret)
Kim Newell-Public Relations

 

Trumpet

Juliana Baum-Chemist
Dale Burkhard-Music Educator (ret)
John Dively-System Engineer (ret)
Jem Jochems-Clinical Pharmacologist
Rob Johannesson-Automation Engineer
Larry Katz-Tax Consultant (ret)
Allison Kershner-Music Educator
Greg Kriebel-Technical Manager
Ryan Pongras-Music Educator

 

Trombone

Noel Beers-Student
Gary Cocchiaro-Primary Care Physician
Josy Conklin-Medical Animator
Chris Johnson-Social Studies Educator
Rickie Sands-FEMA
Tom Steele-IT

 

Tuba

Ben Basalik-Music Educator
Dave Holly-Computer Programmer
Pete Palan-Music/Science Educator (ret)
Wayne Schook-PECO (ret)

 

String Bass

Ben Basalik-Music Educator

 

Percussion

Joyce Haraway-Music Educator (ret)
Tom Kelly-Education Rep.
Bob Platt-Bus Driver
Cindy Reese-Occupational/Music Therapist
Kate Sheaffer-Music Educator (ret)
Paul Smith-Music Retail
Ken Sommers-Programmer

 

Timpani

Enid Horowitz-Grant Writer (ret)

 

Band Officers

Board members and officers:

President – Michael Langston
Vice-president – Helaine Brown
Secretary – Brooke Kuhlen
Treasurer – Jody Celio

 

Board members at large:

Neil Goldberg
Jennifer Monaghan
Jody Celio
Terri Rice
Debbie Swiren (Jazz Band representative)

 

Board members ex officio:

Chuck Neidhardt Director
Ryan Pongras Assistant Director

 

Appointed positions:

Business Manager – Lois Russo
Personnel Manager – Jan Jochems
Equipment Manager – Bob Platt
Librarian – Jennifer Monaghan
Historian – Jem Jochems
Webmaster – Dave Holly

 

The MONTGOMERY COUNTY CONCERT BAND was founded in April, 1995 by Stephen Frederick and Paul Ferla. Since its beginning the band has presented over 300 concerts throughout Montgomery County’s parks, schools and retirement communities. 

Band members come from a variety of professions and backgrounds from educators and homemakers, to the business world and health care. Several are retirees or students. Each of them began their musical journey participating in school music programs. Many members continued to play in groups beyond the school setting through the years, and many have joined MCCB to rekindle their love of playing band music. Musicians and directors are volunteers who donate their time to prepare the various programs for the community.

The band’s repertoire ranges from standard and contemporary literature for band to the Broadway stage, classical transcriptions, marches, and patriotic medleys. Featured soloists have included Philadelphia Orchestra principal tuba Carol Jantsch, trombonist Scott Shelsta and outstanding local musicians Jan-Willem Jochems, Anthony Triplett, Peter Neu, Eric Frank, Anthony Wastler, Dave O’Neill, Jeff Miller, Michael Langston, Andrew Neu, Cindy Reese, Joyce Haraway and from the US Navy Band, Souderton native, Marty Nau.

In April 2009, the MCCB had the honor of presenting a formal concert at PMEA, the State Music Educators Conference. In March of 2014, the band was selected to play at the Association of Concert Bands Convention in Allentown and the Pennsylvania Music Educators Conference in Hershey. In Hershey, the band premiered the exciting and moving piece, Blue Elegy, composed by Travis Weller, in memory of Steve Frederick, founding director.

Of special note is the MCCB Outreach Program. Scholarships are awarded in memory of former band members to local talented high school students seeking to further their college music education. “Side by side” concerts have enabled Montgomery County students to play alongside band members. The MCCB has also presented special benefit concerts for Lansdale Community Housing and Manna on Main Street.

Since 1999 the MCCB and the Borough of Lansdale have collaborated as an official “TUBACHRISTMAS” site, bringing together over 70 tuba, sousaphone, euphonium and baritone players from the tri-state area. TUBACHRISTMAS is normally held on the first Sunday in December. Check the website for details as December approaches.

The MCCB is totally self-supporting as a 501c(3) non-profit organization and depends entirely on donations from the public. Formal concerts are free to the public; a free-will offering is accepted.

Rehearsals are held at Pennfield Middle School in Hatfield on Tuesday evenings from 7:30 – 9:30 pm during the school year.

Stephen E. Frederick, founding director of the Montgomery County Concert Band, passed away on July 20, 2013 after a long illness. 

Mr. Frederick was a graduate of West Chester University, receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education and Villanova University, where he earned his Masters degree in Secondary School Administration. He taught music in the Colonial and Central Bucks School Districts before becoming director of bands at North Penn High School. In 1990, he began his tenure as a school administrator. Mr. Frederick retired in 2003 after 35 years as a music educator and administrator, concluding as Principal of North Penn High School.

Mr. Frederick served as a clinician, guest conductor and judge for marching, concert and jazz band events throughout the country. He was a co-founder and director of the Montgomery County Concert Band. He served as Executive Consultant to the US Scholastic Band Association, based in Allentown. Through the years he supervised student teachers for West Chester University, served on the Board of Governors for the former Gibbs School, hosted programs for WNPV radio (1440 am) in Lansdale, and was active in a variety of community and professional organizations.

Website visitors are invited to leave their thoughts and remembrances below the video.

Remembering Steve

 

  1. Kate Sheaffer says:

    Steve will always be in my thoughts. He was the best mentor anyone could ever ask for. His friendship will truly be missed.

  2. Ron Frick says:

    Few men have impacted my life more. His body is gone, but his spirit lives on in all of us he touched.

  3. Wanda Cattalo says:

    We have lost a wonderful man, but he leaves an amazing legacy through his wonderful family, who allowed us to take him and make him our own. The thousands of lives he has formed through his love of music will keep him alive through countless ages. All of us are sad that you are no longer walking beside us, Fred, but we all know that now you are watching over us. Rest in peace. You have no clue how much you were loved and admired.

  4. Paul R. says:

    Thank You Steve for teaching me the potential for greatness IS!

  5. Lucinda Warren says:

    I will never forget you Fred. You were an awesome band director of the North Penn Marching Knights. Thank you for guiding me and helping to mold me into the person I am today. I will miss you at the tree lighting in Lansdale too. To his family I will be praying for you. HUGS and Love to all of you.

  6. Mike Long says:

    Thank you Steve for helping make me the man I am today! Thank you Dot and Stephanie for sharing your incredible husband and father with so many!

  7. Jean Wietecha says:

    We lost an awesome man yesterday, May he R.I.P.

  8. Cliff Buetikofer says:

    I’ll always remember Steve for “stretching” my musical ear to some really non-standard band literature. Sure the band could play the classic marches but Steve was always trying to reach that next level.

    I remember one rehearsal Steve said it wasn’t just the notes, it was the silence in between the notes that was just as important. I think I’ll observe some silence today in a tribute to Steve.

  9. Adam Tucker says:

    The influence Steve had on my life is undeniable. I am truly a better educator because I knew him and saw what he could accomplish with a musical ensemble. The time I spent getting to know Steve and his wonderful family will always be some of my favorite memories. Much love goes to them in this time of remembrance. Thanks Fred.

  10. Deb (Ruehmling) Fialkowski says:

    So sad to hear about Steve “FRED” Frederick’s passing. May God comfort his wife and family. He has become a legend and will always be remembered by many former NPMK band members and we band front members…even us former majorettes. He made us work hard from July through November, from the blazing hot summer days at band camp to the freezing cold evenings in competition. That inspiration to work hard and strive for perfection in band competition has paid dividends as we have been inspired to work hard at everything in life…from academics to career and everyday life. We will miss him here on earth but thank the Lord for the gift of memories that we will have FRED in our hearts for a very long time.

  11. Kevin Manero says:

    There are few people who will ever come through this community and make as much of a positive impact on so many different groups of people as Steve did. Whether as a band director, principal, sports fan, educator, or friend, Steve connected on a genuine level with so many people and made the NP community a much better place. Never a conversation without a joke and smile, never a shortage of humorous digs on one another, and never a moment with Steve that didn’t also include wisdom and advice. His legacy will live on forever through all that has the fortunate circumstance of sharing these kinds of moments with a truly great man.

  12. Deb Derro says:

    Didn’t have the pleasure of meeting Steve till Montgomery County Band. He made me feel so comfortable in my efforts to play again after so many years. Your smile and kind ways will always be remembered.

  13. Robert Peters says:

    Thank you Steve for being a great teacher and friend! Many a time sitting in my father’s barber chair Steve would share stories, insights and invaluable wisdom that would help guide me through the years, as well as razz my dad haha. You will be missed greatly and my prayers and thoughts go out the Frederick family. God speed.

  14. Stephanie Kligge says:

    I would like to say this man will always be close to my heart as I step in front of my students. He was a great man!

  15. Shelly Geib says:

    Rest in Peace Steve. Your legacy will live on. Was truly a great man. Glad to have known him

  16. John Stoler says:

    Steve (Fred) as I knew him will live forever in my heart. He has touched so many of us with his passion for music and his desire to challenge us. I will miss his smile and seeing him at the NP football games as well as his continued jabbing about joining tuba Christmas each year and the Montgomery County Band. He had asked me to come out for the 50 year band reunion but I didn’t have a tuba. Well he hooked me up with one. Since that I did acquire a Tuba and did join him in the Montgomery Count Band for a while and did attend 3 Tuba Christmas’s all great experiences. Fred will be truly missed but not forgotten. Heaven has a new Maestro and I’ll bet it sounds awesome. “Whale”

  17. Mike Seifried says:

    I do not know of anyone in the Montgomery County Concert Band who did not respect and admire Steve Frederick — for his leadership, for his musicianship, for his integrity. To use the Yiddish word, he was a real mensch. All of us in the band are challenged going forward to be good stewards of Steve’s legacy by making the band the best that it can be. That is how we can best honor him.

  18. Richard Karschner says:

    When I would see Steve, he would often say: “We have to get together to discuss how we can better server our area community bands”. And although we had a couple of lunch dates, we never got a chance to arrange a conference or mini—convention of local community bands.
    At his concerts he would often announce the upcoming events of other area bands. As a promoter of all kinds of music for all ages “The Music Man” will be sorely missed.
    Richard Karschner, conductor—The Quakertown Band

  19. Linda Wagner Arnold says:

    I knew Steve back at Lock Haven High School. We participated in the Purple Whirl Farewell together, we had such encouraging parents and music teachers thru the years, he went on to West Chester and I went on to Peabody for voice study… see you in Heaven, Steve. In Christian Love, Linda Wagner Arnold

  20. Linda Burk says:

    We admired the dedication and commitment that Mr. Frederick had to the Tuba Christmas celebration and other community band events. My children never had him as a conductor or teacher, except for the time when our daughter played bells during the Tuba Christmas “Jingle Bells”. His sense of humor and great musicianship will be missed!

  21. Janet R. Kreiss says:

    Steve’s dear friends, now of Burbank, CA. Ron and Karen Higgins, introduced me and my bassoon to Steve and MCCB. Having a church organ degree and K-12 music cert. and being brand new to bassoon did not matter to Steve. His welcoming attitude of “we’ll work with you” relieved my apprehension and 9 yrs of joy going to rehearsals and playing outdoor and indoor concerts ensued. How else could this church organist have had this experience? This endearing personality even connected to my native area, Glen Ridge, NJ. Upon our chats once he mentioned,”do ya know Stan Jackson?” and of course he was our oldest daughter’s band director. He and Stan were judging colleagues. As a wife, mom and dedicated family person, I am grateful to Steve’s family for their generosity with his time and talent. My most exciting experiences were the MCCB performance at the PMEA convention and the Memorial Day participation on the bright red flatbed! ……… Thanks Steve for all the great rides!

  22. Paul Smith says:

    In high school marching, concert and jazz band you were an amazing teacher and motivator. You always made things real and down to earth and told me when I was making a mistake or could do better. When teaching with you, I always learned and grew in many ways. After a period of loosing track, seeing you at a music convention or in the store, you always made me feel comfortable while at the same time ribbing me about something. Having the honor and privilege of playing under your baton once again over the past several years, I fully realized what an amazing conductor, educator and human being you truly were. You have always inspired me and have always been with me, and I will always think of you as “Fred”.

  23. Wayne Frick says:

    Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. We all start out and end the same, but what this man accomplished between those end points is enough to fill 5 lifetimes, and is the stuff of true heroes. In a time when leaders I can turn to and trust are in very short supply, I feel grateful to have had Steve Frederick to follow and look up to. He was a shining star on Earth, and now he’s among them.

    Thank you for all you did for me, Steve. I am a better man for having known you.

  24. Mike Wenhold says:

    This world lost one of the greatest men I ever knew and heaven gained one of the best band directors ever! Thank you “Fred” for teaching a young teen the value of hard work, dedication and the pursuit toward a common goal. You always instructed your NPMK members, whether win or lose, you do it with class and dignity. You just didn’t speak the words, you showed us by your example and it truly rubbed off on a young NPMK baritone player. My years being involved with the NPMK were some of the best of my life and I have you to thank for that. Thank you to the Frederick family, Dot, Karen and Stephanie for sharing you husband/dad with us. His impact in my life is unmistakable and He will be greatly missed. Praying for you all at this time.

  25. Brenda McCrae Dickerson says:

    Steven Frederick was my first principal in the North Penn School District-Penndale Middle School. My first encounter with him was warm, frieindly and most comfortable. Steve was a wealth of information for me in this very new environment. I enjoyed our time together at Penndale and was delighted that we went to the High School to work together. He introduced me to his wonderful family and I remember Stephanie most fondly. My heartfelt sympathy goes to the family! Steve was a wonderful man!!

  26. Joan Kell Berresford says:

    As a fellow Lock Haven High School graduate,Steve and I worked together many times as accompanists for all the choral music events. His kindness plus his wonderful musicianship always meant so much to me. I knew he would touch the lives of many people and make lasting memories. Such a sad time. My sympathy to his family and friends.

  27. Helaine Brown says:

    Rest in peace, Maestro Steve. Thank you for all that you have done to promote music and music education in our communities. You’ve touched the lives of so many. I’ll miss your warmth, enthusiasm, vitality, humor and friendship. My heart is filled with grief and my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. It has truly been a privilege to play under your baton in the MCCB. Thanks for inspiring us to play to new heights! You will be missed and thought of often.

  28. Karel Quinn says:

    I remember a story I was told by my grandparents about my Aunt Robin, when she was in the marching band in high school. They were trying to out a height requirement in all the members of the guard but she was only 4ft 11 inches tall and she got mad cause the height was going to be 5 ft she was just a bit short. Fred was the band director at the time for North Penn High. He was a great friend of the family and he is going to be missed very much by a lot of people. Enjoy directing the great band in heaven.

  29. Ken Husler says:

    Steve was a GIANT in education for Southeastern PA. As a young and aspiring band director in Lancaster County, I certainly looked up to and respected Steve on a variety of levels. His North Penn bands were the model of professionalism and consistency, and I certainly benefited from listening to him speak and conversing with him at Cavalcade of Bands meetings. I am grateful for the opportunity to have have benefited from his wisdom and insights, and I genuinely appreciated his willingness to share ideas and professional ideology. Steve will be greatly missed.

  30. Julee Gilbert-Belsterling says:

    Victor Hugo in Les Miserable said, “To love another person is to see the face of God” Steve saw a great many faces and we were lucky enough to have looked upon his.

  31. Wayne Schook says:

    It was my privilege to know Steve thru the MCCB. He knew musically what he wanted to hear and how to get it, which made the band what it is today. He will smile down upon us as he hears the “ta ta” and “tut tut” of his applied knowledge and talent, and because of him we have been blessed. Steve was a gentleman and a man of principle. I know the music is even better in Heaven now. My deepest sympathy to his wife and family.

  32. Joe Gerdelmann says:

    Ever since the announcement of Steve’s passing, I’ve been trying to put into words my sense of loss and emptiness. But every word or phrase seems so inadequate for a man who has been a tremendous influence on so many.

    Having been a member of the Montgomery County Concert Band since its inception, Steve was a “maestro” in the purest sense. But he also built personal relationships and cared about everyone. He knew my wife and son and always asked about them and he was the first person to help my wife’s music program when she was laid up with an injury. I know our relationship with Steve was not unique – he cared about and was there for everyone who knew him. He will be sorely missed.

    As I said earlier, every word or phrase seems inadequate when talking about Steve. I can only echo the tributes and testimonials expressed by everyone else.

    To Dot, Karen, Stephanie and the rest of Steve’s family, Steve is at peace – he is no longer suffering. “Thank you” for sharing Steve’s life with all of us. The North Penn community not only lost a “maestro” – it lost an icon.

  33. Bryan Edgett says:

    This is the tribute to Steve that I posted on facebook yesterday. Last night, Chuck invited the band to post remembrances on this tribute page. Because I am not Facebook friends with everyone who posts here, I thought I’d repost for anyone interested.

    Three days ago, my high shool band director, my first hero, Steve Frederick, passed away after a long battle with cancer. It has taken me some time to gather my thoughts and to decompress from what I found to be a stunning and heartbreaking loss.

    Steve came to North Penn High School in the summer of 1972, my first year there. From then until 1990 when he moved into administration, Steve built that program into one of national recognition. But far beyond his success as a music educator was his impact on those who knew him as “Fred,” a nickname he received, Charlene Kay Daub Loftis reminded me, while playing water polo with us during a break between “3-a-days” during band camp that summer, because “Mr. Frederick” took too long to say when trying to get him to pass the ball. 3-a-days amounted to a total of more than 9 hours of marching band practice spread out between 8:30 in the morning and 9:00 at night. Most of us never had worked so hard at anything up to that point, nor had we seen an adult with such indefatigable energy or singular focus and commitment.

    Steve brought a confidence that strong leadership, shared sacrifice, correct repetition, and proper sequencing could build a winning organization. And he transmitted those values to us by his example and sheer force of his will; most of us recognized that he knew exactly what he wanted to hear, exactly what he wanted to see, and exactly what he expected in comportment so much so that we rarely challenged the boundaries. Along the way, we grew to appreciate the character that developed from following Steve’s example and from heeding his instruction.

    My sister, Janet Edgett Ross, a 1982 North Penn alumna, who studied under Steve and later served as his colleague in the North Penn District, offered a marvelous summary of Steve’s character. “Looking back, it amazes me how great was Steve’s capacity for caring. He cared about music and the arts, cared passionately enough to devote his life to helping others create beauty from little black marks on a page, because the arts both reflect and refine our humanity. They deepen us, broaden us, and focus us. They nurture, provoke, entertain, awe, help and frustrate us… much like Steve. He cared so much about music and about excellence in all things, I wonder how he had anything left to care about people. But he did. He cared, he remembered, he asked, he noticed. Now it occurs to me that these types of caring aren’t really separate; they are two buckets drawing from the same deep well, offering the gifts of wonder and of acceptance.”

    Indeed, Steve did care. And he cared not only for those who were his stars, he cared about all of his students. Steve was the first reason that I became a professional musician and a university music professor. I was a very non-descript high school student with a penchant for academic indifference and adolescent insecurity. Not until my senior year did I show any real passion for music. But in discussing music with Steve, he told me exactly what I needed to do if I wanted to give it a shot. Steve sent me to study with Chuck Neidhardt for a time and later to Millard Hensel, another band director Steve recommended. In that time, I got myself together enough to audition successfully for a spot with the Marine Corps Field Bands. And through the transition, there was Steve, encouraging me, pushing me to audition for things, and telling me he believed I could do it. That was enough for me.

    Steve stuck with people when others would have given up. Several times in the past six or seven years, I tried to tell Steve just how much he had meant to my development and to thank him for sticking with me when I was much more of a misfit than what I was a musician. But Steve brushed me off each time not wanting to take credit for success he had prompted, for the concerned character he displayed, for the encouragement he offered, for the confidence he had built, and for the legacy he had left. I have talked to many people in the short time since he went into hospice care who shared similar observations; Steve seemed surprised at the depth of his influence.

    I also must express a deep debt of gratitude to Steve’s wife Dot, and to his daughters, Karen Frederick-Diehl and Stephanie K. Frederick. Steve was larger than life and one does not have such protracted success whithout loving support. Dot, Karen, and Stephanie shared Steve with all of us and I am profoundly grateful for that and for them.

    We will gather once more to honor Steve, a man who gave so much to so many. I am honored to be playing with the memorial band that will conclude his service.

    Steve, Your influence will be felt for generations. Rest in peace, my first hero, my teacher, my colleague, and my friend.

  34. John Dively says:

    We have lost to the ages our leader, teacher, and mentor. I always enjoyed our short chats, fantastic rehearsals, and inspiring concerts. We will all deeply miss his presence and guidance. Go in peace Steve and may God watch over you and your family.

  35. Evelyn Levy says:

    No words adequate for this giant of a leader. Very sad loss.

  36. Rich Fetzer says:

    Steve’s illness and death came as a shock to me as I was traveling for work on Monday night and my wife told me on the phone. Like many who lived in the North Penn area in the 70s and 80s we all knew of Steve’s direction of the North Penn Knights and their notoriety. We moved to the Souderton District, so my son and daughter played and sang in that music program. So I never got to meet Steve personally until I was invited to play in MCCB, probably sometime in the late 90s. At the time, I had only played my trombone at Christmas, etc. so I had not played seriously for about 20 years. Those of you who know Steve as a director, know that he never missed anything going on…. wrong notes, missed timing, etc. So I very quickly knew how “over my head” I was in joining this band. But, I never felt out of place from Steve or anyone else for that matter. Paul Ferla continued to encourage me, when my travel schedule would call me away for a while and I would make my way back to play. Since then, my physical issues with my shoulder have prevented me from continuing to play with MCCB. I really have missed it and have not been in contact much with the band for the past 8 or so years. However, I continued to see Steve at the North Penn Concert Series (one of the many places he volunteered). Steve always said hello like we were old friends and asked about our family, with true interest. In those quick encounters, I never got the impression that he was battling cancer or was sick in any way. Steve and my son Dan share the West Chester music program alum and Steve never forgot that. I was always amazed at a GIANT like Steve would remember a guy who he barely knew for a short time. But, as many have said here, he treated everyone like that. It was about relationships for him. What a guy, what an inspiration to the rest of us to live our lives in that way. Steve achieved so much, but it was never about him. He always deflected that credit back to us. Even though I only got to know Steve for a short time, I will treasure those times because of what Steve stood for. I know that all of us involved with MCCB will miss him dearly as the band continues on. This week I have been thinking of getting out my son’s Euphonium (which would be better for my shoulder) and getting in shape again to come back. I don’t know if I will make the time to do that, but I can hear Steve say….”Just bring it out to practice”. Knowing he would be in for a night of sour notes. But he wouldn’t care. He just wanted to pass on the joy of music to anyone he touched. Thank God for Steve Frederick! His time on earth was too short and we will all miss him dearly, relatives, close friends, or the rest of us who just knew him for a short time.

  37. Karen Wenhold says:

    Fred I dont even know what to say. You were not only my band director you were like another father to me. Being in the NPMK was the most amazing experience of my life you taught me how to be a team player and whether we won or lost we did it with pride and dignity. You will forever hold a special place in my heart you always made time to help me be a better playing and even after I graduste and I saw you made me feel special. Thanks for creating such a family environment its becsuse if you we all stayed connected and will forever. To Dot Karen and Stephanie thank you for sharing your husband/dad with us. Fred may you now rest in peace we love and miss you.

  38. Debbie Madison Washko Proud NPMK-Class of 1985 says:

    There are not too many people that come into your life to impact you, mold you, guide you, to help you become the person you are today, especially during your informative high school years, but I have had one of those. I will be forever eternally grateful that I was lead by such a great man. The bond he created with many of us will never be broken and it’s all because of him. I know I am blessed. I can simply say you are my mentor; thank you.

    I would have never in my life expected to have crossed paths with you again as an adult in Sparks, NV but for some reason it happened. I’m so glad it did. It was great seeing you in your element again. Being under your direction as a NPMK will be forever one of my most favorite and memorable times in my life. Many of us are still together because of you. You made that bond. You are simply a great man. Peace to you and all your wonderful family.Thank you Steve Frederick. You will always be “Fred” to me.

  39. Abbie Lampe says:

    Words fail to describe the impact Fred had on our lives – and on mine in particular. I knew of him from Plymouth Jr. High days, had the privilege of working for him with the Marching Knights, and feeling his great support for the winter guard program at North Penn Junior High. More recently, I marvelled at his continued leadership through the Montco band and other events – even while struggling with his illness. He will be greatly missed – and remembered fondly always. Thanks, Fred, for all you did for so many!

  40. Thom Remington says:

    In ’79, Steve formed the North Penn Community Band, which never performed. Instead, it was there so folks could get back into playing instruments. I hadn’t played tuba for about nine years at that time, and Steve helped me get going again.

    I haven’t stopped; I’m now retired, and music is just about all I do.

    Thanks, Steve!

 

Paul Ferla, co-founder of the Montgomery County Concert Band, passed away on October 16, 2009. 

“Paul Ferla, a musical icon in the Southeastern Pennsylvania area, passed away October 16th. Paul had waged a valiant battle for several months following injuries and medical complications brought on by an automobile accident. Through the years, his business sense and love of music fostered a variety of performance opportunities for area musicians, through not only the MCCB, but the PA Swing Dance Band and other ensembles – small and large. Whether on a one-to-one basis, volunteering in the community, playing his trombone or fronting his Swing Band, it was obvious that Paul enjoyed his family, life, people and of course music. He will be missed by all.”
Stephen Frederick, Director, MCCB

Paul Ferla was a man from a previous generation, where you never took for granted your money, your friends, or your way of life. He seemed to live for the fun of helping others to have fun. His great excitement in life was entertaining, in any way he could. He could capture an audience and keep them until the end of the show. He surrounded himself with wonderful musicians and kept the audience toe tapping the whole time. We will miss his showmanship and love of his fellow man, but we are all fortunate to have known him. He was a driving force behind the establishment of the Montgomery County Concert Band, and our success is due in no small part to his efforts.
Charles Neidhardt, Assistant Director, MCCB

“I have known Paul for 25 years. I have many times played in his bands and enjoyed his ability, in his own unique way, to charm not only an audience, but to engage truly fine musicians to play gigs for ‘peanuts’ and we loved it, and him. He leaves a void like no other. ‘Requiescat in Pace.’
Ed Neiderhiser, Professional Jazz Trumpet Player

“Paul was a kind man who often frustrated me when we played, but always a ‘sweetheart’ as a human being. I’ll miss his ‘count offs’, his passion for his music, his dedication and his ever present smile. Where ever he’s going, he’ll be leading a band and enjoying it. God bless him.”
Ed Etkins, Professional Jazz Saxophonist and Music Educator

“Paul would frequent nursing facilities and entertain the residents by dancing with them and playing along with a ‘boom box’. Paul was a clever businessman, and his diplomacy helped to ‘book’ many gigs for the groups in which he played. From personal experience, I know about his ability to charm people. When my mother was in a nursing facility, she flatly refused to leave her room or to participate in any social activities. Everyone in our family and many of her friends, attempted to get her involved, but we finally gave up. The next time I worked with Paul, he said ‘I met your mother, she had a good time in the social hall.’ Paul managed to charm her ‘back into the swing of things’. He didn’t even know we were related until after his party. This is the kind of man he was. Paul, we will miss you. I am sure you will be as charming in the next life as you were in this one.”
Donald Kline, Professional Saxophonist and Music Educator

Music was an integral part of Paul Ferla’s life as far back as he can remember! Paul started playing trombone in the Ambler School District when he was in seventh grade and continuing throughout his school career. In 1942, after enlisting in the Navy, Paul played his trombone in the regiment concert and jazz band. He was stationed on the U.S.S. South Dakota where he played in the ship’s band. On the South Dakota, musicians would perform, stand the watch, and load guns during an attack. (The South Dakota had a highly ranked gun crew and was selected to host the signing of the peace treaty with Japan; however President Truman was from Missouri, so the signing was relocated to the ship bearing that name.) The captain often ordered the band to play quietly as a boost to morale. Paul continued the concept of boosting morale with his music for the rest of his life.

After his Navy career, Paul continued his education via the G.I. Bill. He focused on starting a business. His endeavors included: a watch repair shop and a sandwich shop in Ambler, a sandwich shop in North Wales and an ice cream shop in the Montgomery Mall. He owned and managed his businesses for the next forty years. He was elected as Montgomery Township Supervisor for six years and police commissioner for two years.

He used his managerial and political skills to handle his musical ensembles. Paul organized and formed the Pennsylvania Dance Swing Band, which he lead until his passing. In 1995 he put his idea to organize a concert band into motion. He piqued the interest of director Stephen Frederick, and the Montgomery County Concert Band was established with 25 musicians. With Paul’s business management and Steve’s musical leadership, the band has expanded to what you see and hear today. In addition to the swing band and the MCCB, Paul organized and lead the Great American Brass Band.

Paul played with Senator Ed Holl’s Orchestra (which played at the Steel Pier in Atlantic City, NJ and Sunny Brooke Ballroom in Pottstown, PA), the Norristown Verdi Band, the Lansdale VFW Band, the Quakertown Band, and Giamo’s Orchestra in Morristown. He was a member of the Windjammers Unlimited Inc., the Association of Concert Bands, and the Pennsylvania International Federation of Music.

Paul, the world was a better place with you in it. You will always be alive in our memory.