New Announcer of the Concord Band has Two Distinct Voices
Lexington resident Nathaniel "Nat" Hefferman is the new "voice" of The
As the "announcer" for the 65-member community concert band, his job will
be to provide a friendly, entertaining, and instructive voice at the
Band's upcoming summer concert series at Fruitlands Museum in Harvard,
each Thursday evening from June 22 through July 27, 7:30 PM.
But Nat, the principal bassoonist of The Concord Band since 2004, has a
second, quite distinctive summer "voice": he puts aside his bassoon and
pulls out his E-flat baritone sarrusophone, a 100-year-old woodwind
instrument (which plays in the range of the bassoon but has many qualities
of a saxophone), whose tone he feels "projects" better in outdoor concert
(See below for more about the sarrusophone.)
Nat volunteered for the job when he heard that the previous announcer
Not only will he provide background information about the approximately 100
pieces of music performed during the Band's summer season, but he will keep
track of the names of all the various soloists who perform with the Band
It is a job that requires a great deal of research and planning, and Nat
says he is enthusiastic about that challenge.
Nat has the right qualifications for this crucial job, since he has a
background in both music and communications: He received a Bachelors
degree in Music from Ithaca College in New York state and was the host of
classical music programs on the Ithaca College radio station and on a local
community radio station in the same city for three years.
He also has been a recording engineer, most recently working with a
Boston-area singer to help her produce her first three compact discs.
He thinks that announcing for The Concord Band will be a "fun" time and
hopes to provide both "entertainment" and "education" to his audiences.
He emphasizes that the summer concert series consists of "Pops"-type
programs and the audience makeup is a bit more "casual" than that
encountered at the Band's more formal concerts presented from September
through April; therefore, he plans to keep his comments "light and
entertaining", providing general information about the works and humorous
anecdotes related to the music and the composers.
Since the programs contain "something for everyone", Nat knows he will have
to be on his toes talking about many different genres of music: classical,
pops, Dixieland, jazz, marches, big band, swing, and Broadway show tunes,
to name just a few.
Some of the "themes" of the upcoming series include: "A Night at the
Opera", "A Sousa Style Concert", "The American Songbook", and "A Salute to
An active free-lance musician, Nat also plays bassoon with the Lexington
Bicentennial Band, the New England Philharmonic Orchestra, and in a
However, during the summer he switches to his "alternate", rather unusual
instrument: the sarrusophone.
One of only a very few sarrusophone players in the country, Nat prefers this
antique instrument to his regular bassoon because "it projects better in an
outdoor concert setting".
What exactly is a sarrusophone?
It is a double-reed woodwind instrument made of brass (much like a
saxophone, with similar fingerings), with a range equivalent to that of a
It was invented in the mid 1800s by French bandmaster Pierre Sarrus to
replace bassoons in military bands, because the tone of the bassoon lacked
the carrying power needed for the outdoor band music of that era.
Nat first heard about sarrusophones when he attended a music camp in
central Massachusetts a few years back and he was immediately intrigued by
the possibility of playing one.
Two years ago, after much research, he bought his instrument from an
antique dealer in San Francisco (modern replicas are very rarely made); his
instrument is an E-flat baritone sarrusophone, made by the Tribert company
in France about 1890.
In addition to music, the other passion in Nat's life is being a
"full-time dad" to his two young sons, who, he says, "keep him extremely
busy and energized".
Nat made his Concord Band announcing debut at the Band's Winter Concert
this past March, when he expounded on the fascinating and intricate life
and works of Percy Grainger, whose music was featured on the program.
Both audience and players were thrilled by his expertise and smooth
delivery, and are looking forward to hearing the dulcet tones of both his
voice and his sarrusophone ring out over the hillside at Fruitlands during
the upcoming summer concert series.
The Concord Band, founded in 1959, is one of the leading community
concert bands in the United States.
It is well known for its innovative programming and the exceptional quality
of its commissioned pieces.
The Band presents both formal and Pops concerts throughout the year, both
at its permanent home at "51 Walden" in Concord, MA, and at its summer home
(for the past 20 years) at Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, MA.
The summer concert series at Fruitlands is attended by thousands of people
For information on The Concord Band's summer concert series at
Fruitlands Museum, and further information on the Band itself, visit the
Band's website at www.concordband.org or call the Band information line