The pandemic has challenged the University Heights Symphonic Band over the past 22 months. During this time the Band has experienced hiatuses of varying lengths, socially distanced small ensembles, and a “semi-normal” time of rehearsals and concerts. Throughout this trying time, members found ways to stay in connected. As we anticipate a return to the activity we all love, we invite you to get to know us better too with a series of mini-interviews with members, old and new!
DOROTHY BERMAN is a retired Registered Nurse who has played percussion in the band for 46 years.
How did you come to join the University Heights Symphonic Band (UHSB)?
In 1975 a family friend, Hank Strater, was playing in the band and invited me to come to a rehearsal. He had played flute in Hillcrest Concert Band with my mom and was currently playing bassoon with UHSB.
How long have you played percussion in the UHSB, and do you play other instruments?
I started piano in the third grade, and then took up flute in the fifth grade since my mom and brother were both playing it. In high school marching band I was marching flute, switched to bells/glockenspiel as an oboe player in my squad was playing them and they were almost as tall as she was. I switched back to flute after marching season. There were mallet parts for the Spring concert and Mr. Hotchkinson, the band director at Brush High School, asked me to play them. When I moved to Florida after my sophomore year, I tried out for flute. I was number 11 with 10 chairs so I tried out for percussion. I passed the audition and was the only member in the section who could read music. I can play everything in the percussion section with the exception of snare drum. I have also played handbells in my church and with community groups for over 45 years.
Did anyone particularly influence or assist you in becoming a musician?
My family, particularly my mother who encouraged me to practice my piano.
Do you recall a favorite concert or other musical memory?
Accompanying my then boyfriend (now husband) for solo and ensemble contest; band and orchestra trips in high school, with UHSB, and John Carroll bands. UHSB members were augmenting the John Carroll band when Dr. Harvey Sisler directed them both. I fondly remember when my niece (who lived with us for a while) played flute in the band with my husband and me. The parking lot concerts by Hillcrest Concert Band in the 1960s were always fun. The audience was in their cars and honked their horns for applause. When my mother was in Hillcrest Concert Band they would have a pop concert in the spring. Children of band members would serve “pop” (soda) to the audience members. I remember working the pop dispenser.
What music are you streaming on your device – or spinning on your turntable?
Usually oldies or easy listening
Who are your musical influences?
I would have to say my family and band directors from high school. Also influential would be the organist, bell directors, and choir directors at church.
What do you enjoy most about playing in the University Heights Symphonic Band?
I share it with my husband. He joined the band in 1976 and currently plays bassoon.
Is there anything else you would like our audience to know about you?
I am a Registered Nurse and retired from active nursing in July 2021. I am a key officer with The Order of The Eastern Star. This prevents regular band attendance during the winter season, so I look forward to the summer season when I can participate more. I have served as Secretary for the Band since 2010. I take minutes for band meetings, Steering Committee meetings, and send out thank you notes after donations of over $20.00. I maintain the band archives and have most concert programs dating back to 1975, plus numerous newspaper and print articles.