GLOVERSVILLE - While Norm Clo is no longer the conductor of the Gloversville Civic Band, he will continue to make music as a member of it.
"I intend to play as long as I can," the 80-year-old French horn player said.
Clo has been the conductor of the Civic band since its latest incarnation began in 2000.
Norm?Clo conducts the Gloversville Civic band July 6 at Church of the Holy?Spirit in Gloversville. After the concert, Clo transferred leadership of the band to Thomas Gerbino, principal conductor, and Joshua Thompson, assistant conductor.?Clo will still play French horn with the band.
The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan
The Gloversville Citizens Band started performing in the early part of the 20th century. The performances continued through the summer of 1997, when they stopped due to lack of funding.
However, money was donated to get the performances started again and they resumed in the summer of 2000.
Clo, who had retired after a 38-year career as band director in the Gloversville school district, was tapped to be the conductor.
Clo said the band still reflects his goals when he was asked to be the conductor: It is a fully instrumented band, with about 42 members, filled with good musicians who are from the local area or, if necessary, the Capital region.
"We've had folks from Ballston Spa, East Greenbush, Mechanicville," Clo said, describing where musicians and some audience members have come from.
Clo said a conductor has great influence over how the group will sound. For example, the music chosen should match the players well.
A conductor also must factor in the lack of rehearsal time available to the band. The group often does not get to many chances to practice a piece before playing it in concert.
Then the needs of the audience must be considered, he said.
"I always wanted to play tunes people can hum or whistle on their way home," Clo said.
Clo said attendance at the concerts always has been strong. In addition to performing with the Gloversville band, he has been a member of the Johnstown Citizens Band for 53 years. He actually joined the Johnstown band a year after moving to the area in 1957 after graduating from Ithaca College.
There are a number of musicians who play in both bands, he said. Particularly, Clo said, he is proud to see former students of his playing in the bands.
"I'm blessed to see [former students] play music each week," he said.
However, Clo said about a year ago he mentioned that he was thinking about stepping down from being conductor. Clo said he felt someone with more energy might be ready and willing to take over.
As it turned out, he said, there were two people interested.
"They are both qualified and then some," Clo said.
At the band's first show of the season July 6, Clo conducted his last concert as the principal conductor. Thomas Gerbino took over as principal conductor, with Joshua Thompson as associate conductor.
Thompson, who will turn 26 this month, is a city native. He took private French horn lessons from?Clo for a couple years.
"Norm has been an amazing influence on me and so many others," Thompson said. "He has been a fantastic role model."
Clo said Thompson is a fine musician who will bring some energy to the group.
Thompson, who has been playing with the band for about 5 to 6 years, said the work Clo and his wife,?Doris, have done with the group over the years has been terrific. He noted it is rare to see professional concert bands in communities the size of the Glove Cities.
Gerbino said he has been a member of the Gloversville Civic Band for 10 or 12 years. He spent more than 30 years as a music teacher at Amsterdam?Middle School.
Gerbino said he was interested in the job, in part, because there are a number of pieces he would like to conduct, and he believes the band is good enough to play them well.
Clo pointed out his wife, Doris, has been active with the Civic Band as well. Every band member gets paid and gets the music for about 8 to 10 new songs each week, Clo said. Doris made sure the members received what they needed, and help with other administrative and logistical matters. He jokingly referred to her as the "band librarian."
Gerbino, 61, said the "behind-the-scenes" work Norm and Doris did was incredible.
"It takes hours to put together a program," he said. "Doris and Norm did it lovingly for years."
All of his years of playing have reinforced for Clo how important music education is. Not just for the academic benefits, either.
"[Name] me a person who doesn't like music," he said. "It's in everybodys life."
The band has three concerts left to play this summer.
For more information about the Gloversville Civic Band, visit its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/glovecivic