Festival Band

The 14th annual Three Rivers Community Band Festival will be held on Saturday, April 29, 2017, and again will feature a Festival Band as one of four performing bands. The Festival Band is comprised of players from numerous community bands throughout the region. No audition is necessary; players must only complete a registration form and pay a small fee. The goal of the Festival Band is to include as many players as possible from the widest number of area groups–and to have a great time making music together!

Guest Conductor:

Major Bill Garlette retired to Virginia in 2002 after serving over 25 years as an Army Band musician and officer. In his final tour he served as Deputy Commander and Associate Conductor at the United States Military Academy Band at West Point, NY, from 1998-2002. Since 2002 he has been involved with guest conducting, clinician, and adjudication endeavors throughout Virginia. Originally from Caldwell, New Jersey, Major Garlette holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from William Patterson College of New Jersey and a master’s degree in trumpet performance from the State University of New York. He also holds a master’s degree in conducting from Northwestern University.

Major Garlette joined the United States Army as a trumpet player in 1977. His first assignment brought him to the U.S. Army Element School of Music, in Norfolk, Virginia, as a trumpet instructor and rehearsal conductor. He also served as a trumpet player with the 26th Army Band, at Fort Hamilton, New York; and the U.S. Continental Army Band, at Fort Monroe, Virginia. As an honor graduate of both the Enlisted Bandleaders’ course and the Warrant Officer/Bandmasters course, he returned, as a warrant officer, to the School of Music as the deputy director of advanced courses. In March of 1985, he received a direct commission. He subsequently served as staff bands officer, 4th Army Headquarters at Fort Sheridan, Illinois; executive officer and commander of the United States Continental Army Band at Fort Monroe, Virginia; and at the Armed Forces School of Music, as assistant commandant, commander of the staff and faculty company, and director of the Army band officer course.

Major Garlette has studied conducting with John Paynter, William Revelli, Donald Hunsberger, and Eugene Corporon; and trumpet with Ron Anderson, associate principal trumpet player for the New York City Ballet. He has taught graduate classes at Old Dominion University, in Virginia, and at the Catholic University of America, in Washington, D.C.

Major Garlette was appointed Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Chesapeake Bay Wind Ensemble in 2010. Since then, the ensemble has grown to 60 members composed of professional, semi-professional, active duty and retired musicians, as well as outstanding high school and college students from the seven city area of Hampton Roads, Virginia.

As Music Director, Bill instituted a vision of music repertoire that emphasizes genuinely American music. This includes wind band music that portrays the various styles that have become synonymous with our country – jazz, ragtime, blues, popular idiom (country, classic rock & roll, etc.), cultural styles, musicals, folk songs and, of course, our patriotic heritage. The band is known for music that is American in style; the essential popular idioms that have developed over the past two centuries.




Download the Registration Form:
.doc Word file
If you have trouble accessing the files or need a different format, please send us an e-mail at festival@ewsb.org.

Please mail completed forms to:

Three Rivers Community Band Festival
5714 Elgin Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15206

Deadline: Your registration is due by February 28th, and Festival Band acceptance notifications will be emailed to applicants March 15th.

If you do not provide an email address, you will be notified either by phone or US Mail. We are planning for a full, balanced symphonic band that represents as many community bands as possible; although we hope to accept all applicants, this may not be possible for balance reasons.

If you play multiple instruments, please list all you are willing to play in the Festival Band on the registration form. This will help us balance instrumentation as well as enhance the likelihood of your participation.

Fee: There is a $25 fee to cover music costs and breakfast/lunch expenses. If we have to turn you away, we will return your registration fee.

Please include payment with your registration form.

Refunds: If you are unable to play in the Festival Band after being notified of your placement, you have until April 18th to let us know. After that time you will not receive a refund.


To be eligible, you must:

  • Play in a community band
  • Be willing to come to the morning rehearsal (report at 8:30 AM, rehearsal 9 – 11:30 AM)


The following is a rough outline of the day of the festival. Exact times will be posted as they are finalized.

Check-in and Breakfast: Starting at 8:30 am, you may check in and enjoy a light breakfast (included in registration fee) in the cafeteria.

Rehearsal: 9 am to approx. 11:30 am with the guest conductor in the auditorium.

Lunch: A luncheon (included in registration fee) will be held between the Festival Band Rehearsal and the start of the concerts during which musicians can meet, socialize, and discuss issues pertaining to community bands.

Performance: The Festival Band will be performing first at 2:30 pm. If you need to leave after the Festival Band performance, you may, but we hope you will stay to hear the other bands from our region perform!

After-festival Reception: Bands performing in the afternoon are asked to provide cookies (home-made or store-bought) for the reception following the afternoon program. If you wish to bring cookies for the reception, please bring them to the cafeteria during registration prior to rehearsal. Beverages will be provided by the festival committee.

Other information

Attire: bottom: black, top: black, white, or band shirt with logo

Stands: Please bring your own stand.

Part Assignment and Chair Placement: We will try to assign instrumentation and parts based on preferences indicated on your application or on overall balance requirements of the band. Please indicate the part you prefer to play (first, second, etc.), but keep in mind that we may have to rotate parts for different pieces among several players to accommodate all requests.

Accessibility: The stage is wheel chair accessible via a loading elevator in the back. If you require other accommodations, please let us know.

Past Conductors of the Festival Band


Max Gonano elisabeth heath charles
2008 2009
Max Gonano Elisabeth Heath Charles
Denis Colwell Paul Gerlach
2010 2011
Dennis Colwell Paul Gerlach
2012 2013
James Gourlay Sam Hazo
 Marty Sharer Headshot
2014  2015
Don Wilcox  Marty Sharer
2016  2017
Steve Gage