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10 Plus With Wolfeboro’s Music Man

Kathi Caldwell-Hopper - July 29, 2013

Doug Cady

Doug Cady admits the piano is his favorite instrument.

If you happen to visit with Doug Cady of Wolfeboro, it isn’t long before the subject of music comes up. If you are talking to Doug and there is a piano nearby, it’s likely he will jump out of his chair and hurry to the instrument, soon belting out a Dixieland jazz piano riff. Doug’s lifelong love of music and his vision of bringing free summertime concerts to Wolfeboro transformed an area near the Wolfeboro docks into a lovely bandstand where all kinds of music is presented during the summer. Doug plays with the Cate Park Band at the bandstand on Wednesday evenings for rehearsal followed by a concert at 8 p.m. He also is a member of the Moose Mountain Jazz Band, which brings wonderful Dixieland jazz to venues all over New Hampshire, and is president of the Friends of the Wolfeboro Community Bandstand.

1. How long have you lived in New Hampshire?

“My wife, Carol, and I moved here in the early 1970s.”

2. What brought you to the area?

“I served a tour of duty in the Air Force and then earned a teaching degree. Kingswood High School in Wolfeboro was looking for an industrial arts teacher for Electronics and I applied and got the job. That was in the 1970s.”

3. What is your background in music?

“I took piano and trombone lessons as a child and I loved it. I never put the instruments down once I started. I discovered I have a passion for traditional Dixieland Jazz music. I am interested in the very old tunes and they are fun to learn to play.”

4. What is your local connection to music?

“When I was teaching at the high school in the 1970s, I got to know which teachers were musicians; for example, the English teacher was a good trumpet player. We entered a talent show and I put together a Dixieland band so we could compete. From that, we formed the Mink Brook Marching Society band and we played out for about 12 years. That band played everywhere! We played in New Hampshire, on the Cape, and in the Lakes Region, and also at private functions. Eventually, Mink Brook disbanded and I played in another jazz band for a while. Then we put together a new band, the Moose Mountain Jazz Band. We play Dixieland Jazz.”

5. Tell me about the Cate Park concerts.

“I am proud to say we are in our 19th year of bringing concerts to Cate Park in Wolfeboro. I got the idea for a bandstand in Wolfeboro with free concerts when my band was traveling all over. I kept seeing these pretty bandstands in town squares. Some were being used and some weren’t. I thought, ‘A bandstand would be a great community addition to Wolfeboro.’ So I set out to do it. In 1994, I wrote a proposal to the Town of Wolfeboro and told them if they would allow me to build a bandstand in Cate Park by the waterfront, I would raise the funds privately and, when the bandstand was completed, we would donate it to the town. We got approval and went to work. We had nine months to raise the money and build the bandstand. It was completed and our inaugural concert was July 4, 1995. It cost $40,000 to build and we got donations both large and small. The Wolfeboro people were generous. We formed an official non-profit called the Friends of the Wolfeboro Community Bandstand, Inc. I am the president and my wife, Carol, is the treasurer. We present all sorts of musical concerts every summer for the public. We have finished in the black every year. It takes about $10,000 to present 10 concerts. We welcome all to come to the concerts and it’s a popular thing to do in the summer.”

6. What kind of music do you present at the bandstand concerts?

“I do all the booking of the bands. We try to present a variety of music and we are always on the lookout for good bands. We offer bluegrass, country, jazz, and more.”

7. What if your favorite instrument to play?

“Definitely the piano. I play every day.”

8. What are some of your favorite songs?

“My favorite songs come and go! Right now I love to play “What A Wonderful World” and “Wish Upon a Star”. And I love an old Buddy Bolden blues song that is quite unheard of. It goes like this…” (Goes to piano to play the tune)

9. There are so many community bandstand concerts in the Lakes Region now, versus the very few in the 1990s and 1980s. Why are there so many now? 

“Yes, in the 1980s there were few such concert series around. We started to see them springing up over time. I think it caught on because families love to go out as a group to hear free concerts in a relaxed park atmosphere. They can dress casually and enjoy a nice night out.”

10. Where do you think music is headed in the future? 

“I am very encouraged that there is such an interest in live music. The hard part of presenting band concerts anywhere is the economic side of it. People do, however, want to hear live music.”

11. What plans are in your future? 

“I hope to keep on playing music, playing the piano and being in a jazz band. The Cate Park Band started in an upper corner of the park in Wolfeboro in the early 1980s. Today there is such strong interest in music. We are getting new high school kids in the band all the time. It’s nice to see the musicians and the audience at the bandstand all enjoying music. I’m so pleased and grateful for the community support.” 

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