BRISTOL - The Bristol Brass & Wind Ensemble and local philanthropist Craig Yarde were honored at the 2017 Art, Culture and Entertainment Awards Saturday night.
“There are lots of people in the band but they wanted me to speak tonight because they know I like to talk,” said Greg Hahn, president of the ensemble board of directors. He plays trumpet among other instruments, and is also currently a candidate for City Council.
Craig Yarde said it was a pleasant surprise to be honored. “I didn’t even know I was nominated till Louise (DeMars, the museum’s executive director) called me up asked me would I accept. I said why would I not?” he joked.
The ACE awards honor individuals and organizations who have contributed to the arts, culture or entertainment in the Greater Bristol community. They are presented annually by the New England Carousel Museum and the Bristol Center for Arts & Culture at a fundraising dinner at the museum.
The public can submit nominees, which are then reviewed by the museum’s board of directors, said DeMars.
The Bristol Brass & Wind Ensemble was established in 1996 and is made up of volunteer musicians who enjoy performing the music of John Philip Sousa, Broadway, and more.
“The ensemble has graciously given their time to put on performances for this award each year. Their performance always goes along with the award ceremony and they’re some of the best performers in Bristol,” DeMars said. “They are regularly giving free concerts, providing musical experiences to this community and giving back constantly. They deserve this award.”
The members are all ages and include professionals, amateurs, and students who have “a passion to give back to the community with their musical talents,” according to the announcement that the award would go to the ensemble.
“Between rehearsals and performances the artists end up giving a substantial amount of their time to prepare for a concert. Coming together in such magnificent harmony takes a lot of practice and many very dedicated people. Bristol is rich in music history with many people teaching, playing, and working with students to bring this important art form and melodic richness to our community,” the announcement said.
Yarde has worked with the parks department, donated 100 trees to be planted on Memorial Boulevard, and invited others who wished to plant a tree in memory of a loved one. He has supported Little League, the carousel museum, the Boys & Girls Club Family Center of Bristol, and for the last two years has organized and supported a recognition event for Bristol’s public safety employees.
DeMars said Yarde created the electronic sign program for local nonprofits to market events at no costs. There are currently three electronic signs in the city; one near Bristol Central High School, another near Bristol Eastern High School and one on Route 6 near Parkville Ave.
“He gave the signs to the nonprofit community to advertise nonprofit activity in Bristol. Fifty-three nonprofits use them on a regular basis and hundreds of messages have been shared,” she said. “Craig is a major supporter for an incredible number of organizations in Bristol. He is generous with his time and funding. He doesn’t just make donations, he rolls up his sleeves. The community is lucky to have him.”
The awards ceremony included a musical performance produced by Ken Ferris & Friends.
Proceeds benefit the general operations and educational programming of the New England Carousel Museum. For more information, call the museum at 860-585-5411 or visit thecarouselmuseum.org.
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.