One of the best things about the W.D. Packard Concert Band is the number of concerts it plays.
There's is at least one concert a month by the band made up of some of the top musicians in the region and two per month in the summer. And thanks to the vision of W.D. Packard and the trust he created, all of those concerts are free and open to the public.
One of the biggest disadvantages for the W.D. Packard Concert Band is the number of concerts it plays.
When there's only one chance a year or less to see a favorite group or performer, those shows become an event, something you clear your schedule for and plan in advance to go see.
It's easier to take something for granted when it's readily available. Sunday rolls around and that recliner in the living room is feeling extra comfortable or yardwork is beckoning, and it's easy to say, ''Eh, I'll go next month.''
This isn't going to be a lecture. I'm not in a position to give it. I admit I'm as guilty as anyone of saying, ''Eh, I'll go next month,'' when it comes to the band. After a long work, sometimes it's nice to have nothing to do and no place to go on Sunday.
But whenever I make it to see the Packard band, I'm never less than impressed.
Most of the Gray family went to Sunday's concert, in part to hear guest vocalist Liz Rubino, who used to be my daughter's voice teacher.
The downpour earlier in the day moved the concert inside Packard Music Hall, and maybe the unpredictability of the weather and not knowing whether it would be indoors or outdoors might have kept some folks away. It wasn't a bad crowd, but let's just say there was no trouble finding a seat inside.
Rubino didn't disappoint - she brought a playfulness to the Gershwins' ''They Can't Take That Away from Me'' and added a hint of vulnerability to that commanding voice on ''Someone to Watch Over Me.''
The Packard Band didn't disappoint either.
Guest conductor Frank Tracz led the band with a steady hand (even with a right elbow that needed surgery), and his respect for the abilities of the musicians he was leading was evident in his demeanor and the comments he made between songs.
The skill of the individual members shined on Norman Leydon's Concerto for Trombones - which showcased trombone players Bill Forrester, James Jackson, Leslie Core and Mike Shevock - and the way the individuals work together as a whole was in full force on a medley of big band favorites and an arrangement featuring songs from ''The Wizard of Oz.''
My record collection and musical preferences lean more toward Springsteen than Sousa, but anyone who loves music of any kind has to appreciate the talent on display every time this band takes the stage.
As we left Sunday's concert, my mom said, ''As good as that band is, every seat should be full.''
The W.D. Packard Concert Band will wrap its outdoor concert season with a bang on Aug. 19 with a 7:30 p.m. concert at the south lawn band shell (weather permitting) followed by a fireworks display.
Don't wait until next month.
Andy Gray is the entertainment writer for the Tribune Chronicle. Write to him at grayareas@