EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

October 16, 2012

SHS marching band performs in back yard

Marching band plays in family's back yard

SALEM, N.H. — It’s always nice to have a few friends over for a backyard get-together.

But a 124-piece band?

Jeffrey and Cherie Smeltzer of 15 Messer Ave. aren’t the types who throw huge parties. But when it comes to supporting a good cause, such as the Salem High School marching band, they’re all for inviting the entire neighborhood over for a little musical entertainment.

The Smeltzers are most certainly the talk of the town this week after the sounds of tubas, drums and trombones filled the air — and their back yard — Friday night.

The family, including 14-year-old bass drummer Dylan Smeltzer, won a raffle at the town’s Salemfest celebration. The grand prize for the raffle, hosted by the Salem High Parents Music Club, was a personal performance by the band.

The band would play wherever the winner chose — as long as it was locally. The Smeltzers chose their own back yard and word spread fast.

More than 60 people filed into the family’s yard, including many neighbors and fellow band parents. The Smeltzers’ daughter, Becky, a University of New Hampshire student and former band member, even came home for the special performance.

Cherie Smeltzer was a little concerned there wouldn’t be enough room on their street to accommodate the band’s large tractor-trailer.

But it fit. So did the 124 student musicians, performing a seven-minute show featuring selections from “Les Miserables.”

“Everybody had a great time; the band was amazing,” Smeltzer said. “The kids basically filled the entire back yard.”

So did the crowd. Luckily, there was enough room on the deck to accommodate the overflow, she said.

“It was nice to hear the band so close,” she said. “When you are out on the football field, it’s hard to hear the soloists.”

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