WEST HILLS SYMPHONIC BAND
The West Hills Symphonic Band presented its debut concert on January 29, 1967, with 58 musicians, launching an ensemble that continues to flourish entering its 54th season. Now based at Montour High School in Robinson Township, the 80-member band rehearses on Sunday afternoons and presents formal concerts on Sundays at 3 PM in October, December, March and May. Admission is always free to the public, with donations accepted along with a successful patron program to help offset expenses. Outdoor concerts offer a vibrant outreach, with the goal to promote and sustain the rich heritage of the American community band through at least five programs scheduled each summer throughout the western suburbs. The band made their debut appearance as part of the Bach, Beethoven and Brunch series at Mellon Park, sponsored by WQED, in July 2013 and hopes to continue performing for audiences throughout the metropolitan region in the future.
The mission statement of the West Hills Symphonic Band includes the goal of offering musicians of varying ages and ability levels a challenging means of developing and expressing their musical skills. Members range in age from talented area high school band members seeking a side-by-side enrichment experience with adult musicians through veteran performers in their late 80’s and early 90’s. The band’s printed concert programs include the occupation of each member, recognizing life-long music making from all walks of life, including by many professional musicians and music educators. Above all, the band exists for the sheer joy of coming together to rehearse and perform a wide variety of music in all styles with concerts that enlighten, educate, and uplift the members and audiences alike.
Previous Concert Repertoire
Anthony L. DiIanni (1935-2019)
Principal Conductor from 1998 to 2009
Anthony DiIanni was conductor for 11 years until his retirement. Tony; a native of McKees Rocks, is a retired Navy Band director, He was responsible for presenting military concerts, both in the United States and abroad. After graduating from Stowe High School, Tony attended Clarion University for two years, then the Navy School of Music. He graduated from the Band Masters Course in 1970 and did tours of Japan; Seattle, Washington; Newport, Rhode Island; Naples, Italy; Cuba; Norfolk, Virginia, and Great Lakes, Illinois. During his navy career, he performed for many foreign officials and played on Italian and Greek television. Tony also played for the arrival of Astronaut Gordon Cooper after his 22 orbits around the Earth in 1963. Tony retired from the Navy in 1976, and graduated from Central Arizona College.
Joseph C. Picchi (1923-2003)
Principal Conductor from 1967 to 1998
Joseph Picchi, the founding conductor of the ensemble, worked hard to put this symphonic band on a firm foundation and establish a fine musical reputation. Joe was a lifelong musician, a teacher, and conductor. He began his studies at the age of 12. He attended Duquesne University, Carnegie Tech, and Biarritz University of France. An accomplished violinist, Mr. Picchi was a member of the Pittsburgh Opera Company, Wheeling Symphonic Orchestra, Butler Symphonic Orchestra, Clarion Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Light Opera Company, and the Pittsburgh Chamber Orchestra. During his 20+ years as a Montour School District music teacher, he developed an excellent program for the community’s students. Under his direction, the marching and concert bands received numerous awards and recognition.