Packard Band honors retiring French horn

The W.D. Packard Concert Band will honor one of their own at the final outdoor performance of the summer season.

French horn player Larry E. Miller is retiring after 54 years with the band.

He started playing the French horn in fifth grade and studied with Ken Miene, the original principal horn of the Packard Band. At Niles McKinley High School and the Dana School of Music, he played for Donald W. Byo, who went on to become conductor of the Packard Band, and Miller also played with the Warren Junior Military Band in high school.

Miller worked as a junior high band director with Jefferson Area Local Schools before being hired in Boardman, where he worked for 28 years at Glenwood Middle School and at the high school with Thomas A. Groth, executive director of the Packard Band. Miller also has played with the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra and Warren Chamber Orchestra in his career as well as playing in the orchestra for many Kenley Players productions at Packard Music Hall.

For Sunday’s concert, Miller will be joined by his son, Brett E. Miller, and they will be French horn soloists on Hoagy Carmichael’s “Stardust.”

“We try to do something different whenever one of the band members retire,” Groth said.

Brett Miller has been a member of the U.S. Air Force Concert Band since 2003 and has served as its principal horn since 2016.

The program also will include Joseph Wilcox Jenkins’ “American Overture for Band.”

“Larry played that on his first concert with the band in 1964, so he wanted to do that again for his last concert,” Groth said.

In addition to the ceremony honoring Miller, the concert will feature Cortland native Michael Young. The baritone has sung lead roles in several Opera Western Reserve productions and performed with Cincinnati Opera, Dayton Opera, NANOWorks Opera, The Central Ohio Symphony Orchestra and The Kentucky Symphony Orchestra.

He will sing “Some Enchanted Evening” from the Richard Rodgers / Oscar Hammerstein II musical “South Pacific” and an aria from Gioachiono Rossini’s opera “The Barber of Seville.” He also will serve as narrator on a performance of Randol Alan Bass’ “Casey at the Bat.”

Other selections on the program, conducted by Stephen L. Gage, will include Chris Donze’s “Gazebo Fanfare,” Rossano Galante’s “A Childhood Remembered,” Hector Berlioz’s “The Roman Carnival” overture, Brant Karrick’s “See Rock City” and a tribute to Irving Berlin.

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