A longtime music conductor is giving a grand finale performance: Neal Haglund is retiring from the Anchorage Community Concert Band after more than two decades.

“We are a community band. If you’re a bandsman, if you’re a musician, just being able to play you’ll find that just the energy you get from people that are fun to play with, the musicality always increases,” Haglund said of his time with the band.

Besides directing grown-up Alaskans with their own passion and taste for music, Haglund has also taught Anchorage students, introducing new, young minds to the musical world. He says sometimes the hardest part for those he’s directed is simply walking through the door that first day.

“We’ve got plenty of people here who started 30 years after they quit high school, picked up their horn again, dusted off, and you do the best you can,” Haglund explained. “There are a lot of people who hadn’t played before, but they have that horn or percussion kit in the closet somewhere.”

As a special send-off, ACCB will be playing one final concert with Haglund at the helm Saturday, May 2 at 7:30 p.m. at the Wendy Williamson auditorium. Tickets cost $6 for adults and $3 for children and seniors.

“You know, I spent 32 years practicing for retirement. It’s called summer,” Haglund joked. “Right away I’m going to do some traveling and I’m going to do some fishing.”

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