READING – Stephen Bloom has long been well known in the local music community. The longtime music director at the Lynnfield Middle School, Bloom has made a profound impression on thousands of students who have gone on to perform at a high level in high school and beyond.
Now he will have a chance to do the same for local performers here in Reading, as Bloom recently took over as the new Music Director for the recently renamed Reading Community Concert Band.
Bloom, who recently relocated to Reading from Stoneham, said he was invited to audition and gratefully accepted the role. He will succeed Catherine Hofius, who served as Music Director for one year.
“I’ve always been a person with one foot in the instrumental music world and one foot in the vocal music world. Most people know me as the Lynnfield Middle School music director, I’ve been there for 21 years … but I trained as a band director, so I’m enjoying this because it’s marking a return to my roots.”
Originally from Lexington, Bloom had a passion for music at a young age. He was heavily involved in all sorts of musical programming in high school, and continued his studies at Ithaca College and then as a graduate student at Indiana University.
Bloom took over as Musical Director at Lynnfield Middle School in 1996, and since then he has been involved in a variety of performing roles. He has sung with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and performed with the Boston Pops and Boston Symphony Orchestra.
He also creates original lesson plans for the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Youth Concert series, and his Lynnfield Middle School select chorus – a group knowns as The Pioneer Singers – have earned renown throughout the region.
Founded in 1994 as the Reading Civic Concert Band, the RCCB was originally a summer band intended to engage developing wind players in a healthy summer activity. A few years later, the band was reorganized into a year-round concert band, and upon taking over, Bloom decided to rename the group as the Reading Community Concert Band.
“I felt a name change would better reflect the nature of the band, the RCCB is decidedly a community group, so I’d like the group to add to what is already a very cultural community,” Bloom said. “Reading is already home to some great music groups, but I don’t think many people realize that we also have a high caliber concert band in town, so I wanted to change that.”
The group rehearses on Monday nights at the First Congregational Church on Woburn Street from 7:30 to 9 p.m., and there are no dues to join the group.
“I don’t believe in paying to play, you’re giving us your talents when you play,” Bloom said. “My feeling is that it’s a volunteer group, so anybody with playing experience is more than welcome to play with us.”
For the first time ever, the Reading Community Concert Band will also be holding a Holiday Performance this coming season. The performance will take place during the Festival of Trees on Sunday, Dec. 3 at 11 a.m. at the Parker Middle School.
For more information on Bloom, the band and all upcoming events, visit the RCCB’s Facebook page or its website at readingconcertband.org.