By Colby Gable
December 15th, the Watauga Community Band Christmas Concert will begin at 5 until about 6 P.M. at the Watauga High School auditorium. The band’s director, Bill Winkler, will conduct the band in a variety of Christmas music, both religious and secular. Selections include A Canadian Brass Christmas, arranged by Luther Henderson, Celtic Carol, arranged by Robert W. Smith, and The Bells of Christmas, by Robert Longfield. Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride will also be featured.
“We have the challenge every year as we try to do the Christmas concert from Mother Nature and Appalachian football games, but it looks like this year, as long as the school schedule doesn’t get crunched, we’ll be able to play over at the high school, so we’re looking forward to that,” said Steve Frank, another of the of the band’s directors commented. “It’s a great venue, the school has a great auditorium and we’ve done several things in conjunction with the high school over the last few years.”
Usually the band is made up of 40-45 volunteers including 2 current and 6 former band directors for the annual holiday concert, which can vary depending on the time of year, but for the Christmas concert, most members are local residents of Boone and Watauga County.
“If we don’t have a good time, we don’t have a band. These are all volunteers, and no one gets paid; luckily our fundraising has been able to keep the band afloat and we’ve been really fortunate with that. We’re also happy that we have been attracting younger folks, and we’re seeing that they’re coming, participating, and eventually coming into leadership roles. That’s what we really need to thrive and grow and that’s happening right now.” Frank continued.
“We’re really trying to be a community resource for music, like the go-to number for folks who are looking for musicians and music, and if it’s not us then we know them. This past year, Tanger (Outlets) called us about a concert series and putting in a new facility, so we helped them book 12 bands for 12 weeks. And by the end of the season, their new space between the two main buildings turned into exactly what they were hoping. But I like people to feel like they have access to us, whether it is through the website or however…I feel like our role is an expanding one.”
The Watauga County Community Band has been servicing the county since 1986. Since its founding, its purpose has become more of a resource for the community, and “presents more formal concerts in the fall and spring, consisting of traditional concert band arrangements of many styles, while they still play for community celebrations and events.
The band is hoping to be utilized going forward by both the local government and community as well, and to continue being involved with their members with other musical aspects going on in the future of the community. This includes adding new membership which the band is always looking for. New auditions to be part of the Watauga Community Band will be held the third Tuesday in January next year, and the band will function as a four credit course at Appalachian and Caldwell Community College.
The Band’s Christmas Concert will be open to the public and is free to attend. For more questions or information, visit https://www.wataugacommunity.band