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Watauga Community Band to Perform at Appalachian Theater

The Watauga Community Band is taking its Fall concert “to the street…” 

King Street, that is, with the band’s first event at the restored Appalachian Theater.  

Director Billy Ralph Winkler said, “In our first combined event, the community band will take to the stage featuring American composers with a patriotic theme as we approach Veterans Day.” 

Winkler said, “The concert will feature music by American composers such as John Philip Sousa, Eric Osterling, Clifton Williams, William Harbinson, John Prescott, and others.   Several standard patriotic selections will be performed including an Armed Forces Salute, where all veterans will be recognized by their special song selection.”

As Director Winkler, said he is especially thrilled to be performing with the band on the stage of the Appalachian Theatre which, was originally built by his grandfather, W.R. Winkler, Sr. “This theatre is part of the history of Boone,” he said, “and it seems only fitting for us to perform here.”

The members of the band range from age 14 to 91 years according to Winkler who added, “just like our country, the diversity of our band is perhaps its greatest strength.   People of all ages, all professions and all walks of life come together to share their love of music with each other and with our community.”

Several students from Appalachian State University as well as studens from Watauga and neighboring counties are currently participating in the band as well as a number of current and retired band directors.

Band president, Steve Frank, added that “This has been a remarkable year for the band, emerging from the Covid-19 pandemic.  We had to skip an entire year early in the pandemic, then began to utilize the Rotary gazebo in Blowing Rock for both our Tuesday evening rehearsals and a Sunday concert series.  Those proved to be very popular and we hope to keep that tradition in the ‘warm season’ of 2023.”  

“This year we saw a great increase in participants from both ASU and public schools from across the High Country, many of these students following their school band directors who were already in the WCB.  So now our participants are aged from early teens to one of our retired school band teachers who turned 91 this year.”  

The Watauga Community Band was founded in 1986.   At first, rehearsals were held each week in the band room at Hardin Park School.  Several local musicians served as conductors, but eventually, the baton and title of Director were given to Dr. Charles L. Isley, a beloved member of the community who had a distinguished career as a music educator at Appalachian State University and in the public schools.  Rehearsals during the academic year were moved to the Broyhill Music Center where the band remained until recently when rehearsals were moved to the First Baptist Church of Boone.

“We continue to enjoy and appreciate an excellent relationship with the Appalachian State School of Music” said Winkler.

He went on, “We are extremely grateful to the staff of the Appalachian Theatre for working with us and making this event a reality—with hopes for this to be ‘the start of something big.’”

The opening selections of the concert will be performed by the Watauga High School Honors Brass Quintet, directed by Taryn Wooten.

The remaining selections to be chosen from:

The Star Spangled Banner

American Flourish

American Hymn Tune Sketches


Variation Overture

All the Starry Band

The Mansions of the Lord

Armed Forces Salute

The Stars and Stripes Forever

National Emblem

Winkler concluded by reminding folks about the band’s annual participation with the Military Officer’s Association at Boone Mall Friday morning, with the music starting at 10:30, the recognition of Veterans Day beginning at 11am, center court, Boone Mall. 


Watauga Community Band Veterans Appreciation Concert

Thursday, November 10, 2022; 7:30 pm

Appalachian Theatre of the High Country

Admission is free, and donations appreciated ($5 suggested)