Community Band to debut

Published 8:29 am Friday, December 11, 2009

Bainbridge has had a band for some time, but it just got bigger.

Because Decatur County Schools Director of Bands Paschal Ward wanted to modify the old Bainbridge British Brass Band from a traditional British-type band that only had brass instruments to include wind instruments, the Bainbridge Community Band was re-formed.

With more than 81 band members, the Bainbridge Community Band will premire on Tuesday, Dec. 15, at 7 p.m. at the Charles H. Kirbo Regional Center.

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“We have had five rehearsals so far, and I’m well pleased with where we are,” Ward said. “But the main priority is to have fun. If we sound good, then we’ll have concerts. If we don’t, we’ll just have rehearsals. But we’ll have fun.”

And it’s with Ward’s classic humor and charm that at least half of the band are former students of his.

For example, his wife, Pam, hasn’t played in a band for more than 30 years, but she has resumed playing her clarinet for the community band. Same is true for Donna McGlincy, who also played clarinet at some earlier time, Ward said.

“We are honored and privileged to continue a great tradition. We are pleased to offer more members of the community the chance to participate,” said The Post-Searchlight publisher Jeff Findley.

Earlier bands

Ed Mobley, a retired Bainbridge College president, was the creator of an earlier community band—Port City Brass Band—that gathered in Willis Park on Christmas Eve to play carols, but when he became knowledgeable about British brass bands he convinced former Post-Searchlight publisher Sam Griffin to have the newspaper sponsor the band.

The band, believed to be the first community British brass band in Georgia, has had as many as 30 players, the maximum allowed for competition.

The original British brass instrumentation called for nine cornets, three trombones, three alto horns, a flugelhorn, an E-flat cornet, two baritones, two euphonium, two E-flat tubas, two B-flat tubas and percussion, as needed.

According to Ward, a community band is a concert band consisting of amateur performers.

The Bainbridge Community Band, still sponsored by The Post-Searchlight, is defined as a community-based ensemble of brass, wind and percussion players, comprised primarily of adults who do not receive the majority of their livelihood from participation in the ensemble.

Community band

In the United States, community band concerts are most frequently given during holidays and patriotic events.

During the United States Bicentennial, having a community band was one of the criteria for being designated a Bicentennial City. There are about 2,500 community bands across the United States.

The Bainbridge Community Band is not a professional group.

The musicians are volunteers, playing for the enjoyment and the personal growth and challenge that a community band provides, Ward said.

“The Sousa marches, the pop arrangement, the classical pieces, the specialty music is virtually kept alive by groups such as this,” Ward said.

The modern American community band is rooted in European tradition. Immigrants, like the German Moravians who settled in Pennsylvania and North Carolina, brought the band tradition with them to the United States.

Often community bands emerged from military bands.

The popularity of early community bands can be attributed to the participation of thousands of ordinary citizens in these ensembles and the patriotic appeal of the music and performance.

The increased number of musicians that learned to play an instrument in high school or college bands but did not pursue music as a career has provided a pool of amateur talent seeking an outlet for their musical abilities, thus the creation of the Bainbridge Community Band.

“What a great opportunity for these fine musicians to have fun while performing once again in a concert setting,” Ward said.

Scheduled program

Star Spangled Banner

Let Heaven and Nature Sing

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Sleigh Ride

I’ll Be Home for Christmas

Christmas ala Big Band

All is Calm

It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Hark the Herald Tubas Sing

Somewhere In Memory

Trombones on the Housetop

Away In a Manger

Hallelujah Chorus