By Anthony J. Machcinski
For the last 13 years, the Garden State Concert Band has performed at Veterans Park on Belgrove Ave. in Kearny for the annual Fourth of July celebration. The band was formed 31 years ago, giving its first concert at Nutley High School in April of 1980 and has since played such venues as NJPAC and the Lincoln Center in New York.
The band started several founders, including Dominick Ferrara, the conductor, who got his start after becoming the bandmaster for the 50th Armored Division of the New Jersey Army National Guard.
Ferrara, now 72, has been conducting since he was 21. He was part of the Bloomfield Civic Band before helping form the Garden State Concert Band.
Ferrara wanted to start the band after he retired from the National Guard and returned home.
“I actually got bored,” said Ferrara. “I wanted to establish something. This is the only professional playing band gathered in the state. The others are community bands or college bands, and they’re all good, but I don’t think they pay the musicians for their services.”