The East Bay Summer Wind Ensemble was organized in June of 1976 by Founder and Conductor, Lt. Col. Steven Grimo (retired Commander/Conductor of The United States Air Force Academy Band) of Bristol, R.I. as a non-profit, educational community music program to offer residents of the East Bay area of Rhode Island a chance to become actively involved in cultural activities. The primary purpose of the ensemble was to offer residents an opportunity to read and perform music of all types and to expose the community to a valuable musical experience. The original organization included the Wind Ensemble, a Jazz Ensemble and a number of Chamber Music Groups of various instrumentations and was funded, in part, by The National Endowment for the Arts and The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. Each group rehearsed once a week for the duration of the summer months at St. Mary's Church Hall in Bristol, R.I. or at the Warren Baptist Church in Warren, R.I. Through the years, additional ensembles were added to the organization and the name of the organization changed to The East Bay Association for the Arts in 1980 under the direction of Project Director, Lt. Col. Steven Grimo and Assistant Director, Mrs. Maureen Horgan Grimo. The organization grew to include a Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, Dixieland Band, Stage (Dues) Band, Solo/Ensemble Programs, Chorus, Jazz Swing Choir and the East Bay Theatre Company boasting instructors such as Mr. William P. Dennis (Theater Director), Mr. James Ascoli (Theater Musical Director), Charles Mello (Choral Director), Paul Bowser (Assistant Conductor of E.B.S.W.E. and Conductor of Dues Band), Beth Comer (Children's Theater Director) and Ruth Souto (Jazz Swing Choir Director).
After the 1986 summer season, Steven Grimo joined the United States Air Force and left the various ensembles in the capable hands former students, teachers and friends. After his departure, many of the ensembles continued under the leadership of various directors and separated from the umbrella organization of the East Bay Association for the Arts. The East Bay Chorus remained in the Bristol area and continued under the direction of Ruth E. Souto, while the East Bay Jazz Ensemble continued under the direction of Mr. Gerry Grimo and moved to Vermont during the late 1980's with Gerry and his family. The ensemble, now called Gerry Grimo and the East Bay Jazz Ensemble, have become a well-known attraction in that area and continue to perform at weddings, summer concerts and other celebration throughout the year.
As for the East Bay Summer Wind Ensemble, it was to continue under the direction of Mr. Paul M. Bowser. Mr. Bowser began performing with the ensemble in 1978 on trumpet and continued with the group throughout his high school and college years. Mr. Bowser is currently the Director of Bands at North Cumberland Middle School in Cumberland, RI and has been for almost 20 years. He is a graduate of Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois with a Bachelors of Music Education and the University of Rhode Island with a Masters Degree in Music Education with an emphasis in Composition. Mr. Bowser has composed numerous works, including pieces for concert band, percussion ensemble, brass ensemble, assorted chamber ensembles, handbells, mixed chorus and symphony orchestra. Mr. Bowser led the ensemble during the 1987 and 1988 seasons, even continuing the ensemble outside of the summer months for a time, until the group took a one year sabbatical in 1989.
From 1990 through 2005, the organization focused its efforts on two main wind ensembles; The East Bay Summer Wind Ensemble providing a wind ensemble experience for advanced instrumentalists ages ranging from advanced high school musicians on up and The East Bay Summer Youth Ensemble providing a wind ensemble experience for intermediate junior and senior high school instrumentalists. During that time, Mt. Hope High School (formerly Bristol High School) Performing Arts Director, Mr. Robert J. Arsenault had been director of the ensembles. Mr. Arsenault graduated from Rhode Island College in 1975 with a B.S. in Music Education and in 1989, he completed his Masters in Educational Leadership from Bridgewater State College. He has directed the Bristol and Mt. Hope High School Bands since 1988 and has been the chair of the Performing Arts Department since 1994. Mr. Arsenault was the first of Rhode Island’s instrumental music teachers to be recognized as "Outstanding Band Director-Making a Difference in Students’ Lives" by School Band and Orchestra Magazine. Both the EBSWE and EBSYE rehearsed during that time at St. Mary's of the Bay Church Hall in Warren, R.I. and then at Mt. Hope High School in Bristol, R.I.
In 2006, The East Bay Summer Wind Ensemble began its 30th season of offering community musicians (amateur, student and professional) with a quality summer music experience while providing first-rate traditional and contemporary band music performances to neighboring communities. Taking over as director of The East Bay Summer Wind Ensemble and The East Bay Summer Youth Ensemble was Mr. David M. Marshall. Mr. Marshall is a native Bristolian and 1998 graduate of Berklee College of Music with a B.S. in Music Education. For 9 years he was the Director of Music for the Swansea Public School System in Swansea, Massachusetts where he was also the director of The Joseph Case High School "Cardinals" Marching Band, Concert Band, Jazz Ensemble, Chorus and Show Choir. In June of 2007, he took over the duties of Director of Bands at Somerset High School in Somerset, Massachusetts. As of July 1, 2011, the towns of Somerset and Berkley, MA have become a regional school district for grades 9-12 thusly forming the new Somerset-Berkley Regional High School. There he currently directs the Nationally Recognized and Award-Winning Somerset Berkley Regional High School "Blue Raider" Marching Band, as well as the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, Jazz Band, "Electrify" and "Amplified" Show Choir Pit Bands, Musical Production Pit Orchestra and is the Winter Music Activities Director supervising all activities of the Winter Percussion and Winter Color Guard. Under his direction, those instrumental and vocal performing ensembles excelled and earned numerous group and individual awards at festivals and competitions throughout Massachusetts, as well as in New York City, Washington D.C., Allentown, PA, Virginia Beach, VA and at Disney World in Orlando, Fl. Most notably, he recently led the SBRHS “Blue Raider” Marching Band to national success in November of 2015 when they traveled to Dover (DE) and won the 2015 USBands Division 1A National Championship as well as receiving the Cadets Award of Excellence and the Division 1A National Caption Awards for Best Music, Best Percussion, Best Color Guard, and Best Visual. Many of his former and current students have successfully auditioned for the Southeastern District MMEA and Massachusetts' MMEA All-State Honors Ensembles. Additionally, he is an active member of the following music organizations: MENC (The National Association for Music Education), MMEA (Massachusetts Music Educators' Association), TI:ME (Technology Institute for Music Educators), NESBA (New England Scholastic Band Association) and USSBA (United States Scholastic Band Association). In 2008 he was selected by The Cambridge Who's Who as the 2008 Executive of the Year representing the Music Education Industry. Mr. Marshall also works as a freelance Music Arranger and Composer. His arrangements have contributed to various high school show choirs and marching bands winning local, regional and national championships. Mr. Marshall has been a performing member of The East Bay Summer Wind Ensemble since 1990 on alto saxophone and has been both ensembles' assistant conductor since 1996 under the tutelage of Mr. Robert Arsenault.
On August 3, 2006, The East Bay Summer Wind Ensemble celebrated 30 years of community music with their 30th Anniversary Concert on the Bristol Town Common. The night featured both The East Bay Wind Ensemble and The East Bay Summer Youth Ensemble with special appearances from the ensembles' former directors as guest conductors. Returning to conduct selections along with Mr. Marshall were Mr. Bowser, Mr. Arsenault and Lt. Col. Grimo. It was a celebration of EBSWE's past, present and future musical accomplishments!
Beginning in 2009, the East Bay Association for the Arts, Inc. welcomed back the East Bay Summer Chorus to its ensemble line-up. Under the direction of Mr. Richard J. Sylvia, the ensemble boasted 45 members of all ages and abilities for its re-inaugural season and continues performing a wide variety of traditional and contemporary literature today. Mr. Sylvia is a native of Dighton, MA and earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Music Education from Rhode Island College. He has just concluded his first year of teaching at Somerset High School, where he directs the concert choir, treble choir, chorale, and show choir. He also teaches vocal techniques and acoustic guitar classes. In addition, he is the co-director for Somerset High School’s Drama Club, director of Encore Community Chorus and the musical director for Bishop Hendricken High School’s Drama Program. In the past, he has directed the Rhode Island Children’s Chorus’ Treble Choir and musical directed for the North Kingstown Players. As a choral singer, he has had the opportunity to perform in concert tours in Scotland, Great Britain, Italy, Austria, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic and has had the honor of working with several composers, conductors and performers, including Carlisle Floyd, Libby Larsen, Michael Remson, Jean Redpath, Ann Howard Jones and Michael Bublè.
In 2010, the organization added a new ensemble for string instrumentalists. The East Bay Summer String Ensemble was led by Ms. Lori J. Anderson. Ms. Anderson earned her B.S in Music Education from the University of Connecticut, her Masters in Music Education (with a minor in violin performance) from the University of Rhode Island, and her CAGS in Educational Leadership from Bridgewater State College. She has worked in the Abington Public Schools, the Dartmouth Public Schools, and the Somerset Public Schools as a string specialist/music educator. She currently serves as the Coordinator of the Fine and Performing Arts and High School Orchestra Director for the Somerset and Somerset-Berkley Regional School Systems. Her professional memberships include the MMEA (Massachusetts Music Educators' Association), the ASTA (American String Teacher's Association), and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD). Ms. Anderson has been active in MMEA and Southeast District serving as manager for both the Junior and Senior District Festivals, and served as the manager of the All-State Orchestra in 2006. She has conducted the Rhode Island Junior All-State Orchestra, the Junior SEMSBA Orchestra, and the Western District String Jamboree. This year, she will be serving as the Concert Chairperson for the Southeastern District Senior Festival. Ms. Anderson was the conductor of the Intermezzo Strings for the Ocean State Youth Orchestra (OSYO) for 7 years. She is an active musician performing in variety of venues as a violinist. She has performed with the Sinfonie by the Sea, the Boston Philharmonic, the Plymouth Philharmonic, and the New Bedford Symphony. Ms. Anderson was very excited to establish the East Bay Summer String Ensemble which provides string performers the opportunity to advance their skills as well as perform in an ensemble setting during the summer months.
In 2011, taking the reins from Mr. Sylvia both at Somerset High School and for the East Bay Summer Chorus was Mr. Andrew Arcello. Mr. Arcello is a 2010 graduate of Providence College where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education with concentrations in voice and choral music. He began teaching at Somerset High School in 2010, where he directs the Concert Choir, Treble Choir, Show Choir, and Chorale. In addition, he teaches Voice Technique, Guitar, and Foundations of Music classes. Since 2005, Mr. Arcello has been the Director of Music (choir director and organist) at Holy Angels Church in Barrington, RI, and was recently appointed as the Director of Religious Education for the parish. During the summer months, he co-directs and teaches music at Linden Place Cultural Arts camp for students ages 6-13 in Bristol, RI. As an active choral singer, Mr. Arcello has had the opportunity to perform with the Moscow and St. Petersburg Conservatory Choirs while on tour in Russia. Mr. Arcello is an active member of the ACDA (American Choral Directors Association), NPM (National Association of Pastoral Musicians), RIMEA (Rhode Island Music Educators Association), and MMEA (Massachusetts Music Educators' Association). An avid traveler, Mr. Arcello has experienced cultural music around the world and deepened his appreciation for world music. Currently, he is pursuing a Master of Music degree in Music Education from Boston University. Mr. Arcello is a life-long resident of Bristol, RI.
The one underlying mission for all of the East Bay Association of the Arts, Inc. ensembles has always been to provide community musicians of all ages and levels of expertise with a quality summer music experience while providing first-rate traditional and contemporary music performance to neighboring communities. Many members that were there in 1976 with Lt. Col. Steven Grimo are still with EBSWE today. In fact, their children now perform in some of the ensembles. The East Bay Association of the Arts, Inc. is a place where parents and children can perform together and where doctors, lawyers, carpenters, landscapers, students, professional musicians, etc. can all come together and make music for the joy of it!
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