by Emma Speckman
Sept. 2, 2014. The Watauga Community Band ended its summer season last week with a show at Kampgrounds of America (KOA) in Boone. The band will open the fall season with a Dixieland band concert in Blowing Rock Sept. 14 and a Voices of Peace concert by the full concert band at Rosen Concert Hall on Appalachian State University’s campus Sept. 21.
The fall season lineup also includes another concert at Rosen Concert Hall Oct. 21, a Veteran’s Day concert at Boone Mall Nov. 11 and a Christmas Concert.
The 45-member band has kept busy this summer with several shows in the High Country by both the full concert band and the smaller Dixieland band, according to summer season director Steve Frank. Frank has been with the band for more than 10 years and in addition to directing, he plays tenor saxophone.
Although not affiliated with either school officially, the community band currently includes six students from Appalachian State University and Caldwell Community College who are receiving college credit for their participation.
“Band members range in age from teens to 80’s, and come from many different career backgrounds,” said Elizabeth Winkler, clarinet player and Board of Directors member. “There are no auditions required, just a desire to play music.”
“Music keeps you young,” said Frank.
During the school year, the community band meets at 7:30 p.m. in the Spencer Rehearsal Hall (Room 119) in the Broyhill Music Center on Appalachian State’s campus to rehearse. Anyone is welcome to join, Winkler said.
“All of the activities are very enjoyable and rewarding and many close friendships have been formed among the band members,” she said.
Concerts and new members are not the only thing to keep the Watauga Community band busy this year. Thanks to an unexpected donation by deceased member Ray Walker, the band has been working on plans to build a gazebo in downtown Blowing Rock, to be completed May 2015.
According to Frank, the Blowing Rock Rotary Club has signed on to help them make the gazebo project a reality.
The band put up $10,000 from the donation for the gazebo and the rotary club donated an additional $30,000.
“We may not even have to do any fundraising,” Frank said.
The gazebo will replace the one currently in Blowing Rock Park and will be used as a venue for musicians in the area.
“It’s an investment in tourism for the High Country,” he said. “We want it to be somewhere where something is always going on.”
For more information about how to get involved with the community band and to follow their event calendar, visit http://www.wataugaband.org/.
To follow to progress of the Blowing Rock gazebo construction, please visit http://www.blowingrockrotary.org/.
Photos by Steve Frank