Ron Rometo is the man behind the music at Penn-Trafford
For nearly 15 years, Ron Rometo has been making the Penn-Trafford community known simply by playing music.
Rometo formed the Penn-Trafford Community Band in 2007, an organization that today consists of more than 60 community members and three high school students. The band performs at various venues in southwestern Pennsylvania, including Westmoreland, Allegheny, Armstrong, and Butler counties.
“It’s nice to have the name of the Penn-Trafford community going to Kennywood and different places in southwestern Pennsylvania and performing. These are places that would never have heard of us,” said Rometo, a 1963 Penn-Trafford graduate who played trombone in the high school band.
Rometo came up with the idea for the community band after bringing together a group of alumni in the fall of 2007 to perform at the Penn-Trafford Fall Festival.
After realizing that the event brought together a group of “kind and talented” individuals, Rometo, along with a group of founding members, decided to start the community organization.
The group started with 20 members but quickly grew as the organization played festivals across the region.
Today, the community band plays at 14 summer venues and up to six Christmas venues, Rometo said. In addition to the orchestra, there is also a flute choir, a saxophone ensemble and a jazz band, all made up primarily of members of community groups, according to the organization’s website.
Each year, the band members prepare for their season in March, when they meet once a week at Colton Hall in Claridge, Penn Township, to rehearse the music chosen by Rometo and Doug Skoretz, the music director. and band leader. In all, the band learns 35 songs that include polkas, jazz music, classics, and popular themes from TV shows and movies.
“We play music that is familiar and enjoyed by audiences of all ages,” Rometo said. “We play songs that people recognize.”
The variety of music, as well as the band’s willingness to travel to different venues, has allowed the organization to develop “a whole following,” Rometo said.
The organization has made a name for itself by performing at several popular Westmoreland County festivals including the Arts and Heritage Festival, the Ligonier Summer Concert Series, the Westmoreland Fair and concerts at the Lamp Theater in Irwin. He has also performed at PPG Place in Pittsburgh, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, and Renziehausen Park in McKeesport.
Looking ahead, Rometo hopes the band will continue to entertain members of the local community while spreading awareness of the Penn-Trafford community.
“Things really worked out for that,” Rometo said. “We have a good solid group of band members. We take our music seriously, but we’re pretty laid back (and) friendly.