Beverly concert hits high note

September 1, 2012 by  

The band shell in Lynch Park has been named after a former Beverly resident who left his musical mark on the town. It was a unanimous decision by city council.

During a July 26 performance at the concert stage in the park in front of a crowd of 200 people, the shell was officially and ceremoniously named and dedicated to Alvin C. Mitchell, who died last year, aged 92.

The late musician’s nephew, Joe Boccia, said:

“The minute I heard the shell was going to be dedicated to Al, I thought it was pretty fitting, their band was the first to play there.”

Civic ceremonies such as this, when a structure or building is dedicated to a prominent resident, call for banner printing, which adds to the festivities and promotes the upcoming event to the public.

Mitchell played for 75 years with Manuel’s Original Black and White Orchestra – a band founded by his uncle in 1916. It was formed on the spot when, during World War I, an orchestra to play at a high school prom could not be found and the Manuel brothers stepped up and formed a group. The brothers held auditions amongst the students and, once they settled on the final orchestra members, the band drew the admiration of fellow students and was allowed to play at the prom. It knew only a few tunes in the early days but, by the 1960s, the orchestra had gained such publicity, it replaced a scheduled appearance by the Boston Pops in that very same concert shell in Beverly in the 1960s.