Has It Really Been That Long?

As I was preparing to compose the press release for our March 10th concert I suddenly realized that I had been the Director of this band since fall 1989. That means I am starting the twenty-fifth year of picking music for concerts, rehearsing that music and performing it with the musicians of the NLRCCB. Mr. Brandon stepped down form the band on August 15th of 1989 and I can remember thinking that I could never follow in his giant footsteps. And I don’t think I have necessarily done that. I think the band is larger than either of us. I have thought quite a bit this week of the many musicians who have graced the seats in our band, and the many who are no longer with us. To try to recall all the names would be impossible without leaving someone out. But I must mention a few, starting with the likes of trombonist and quartermaster Mary Elizabeth Drilling. She taught us all and especially me, to love this band and what we were doing. There was Emmett Wiseman, librarian; “Doc” Harlan Holmes who was the only person I ever knew who played Db piccolo; Charlie Webster and his much too big for him euphonium; Farris Wood who I played many polka band gigs with; Charles Hull, who thought we should never play anything the audience wasn’t familiar with; and Mike Fuller, college fraternity brother and best man in my wedding who was always the first to remind us to change our clocks the night before our spring and fall concerts. All of these folks were faithful members of our band and there are so many more from Mr. Brandon’s years who are now gone as well. And they all brought something unique and special to the ensemble, regardless of how well they did or did not play their instruments. And the band was better for what they brought to us, just a sit is continuing to grow and mature with the players who are now in the seats once held by those who came before them. I think that is what has kept me going all these years. Sure, the music has been fun.(and I love to conduct a band) Yes, there have been many long hours stuffing folders, trying to make all the equipment fit into the trailer and van, and stressing about the weather or if we would have enough instrumentation to play what I had chosen. All of these things pale, however, and seem unimportant when I see and hear the band at the concert. I have been so fortunate that the band has allowed me to stand in front of them these past twenty-four years, being a ham with the audience and trying to get the band to play just one more level higher each year. To all of the musicians who have been a part of the journey so far i say thank you! And to the nine directors who turned down the offer in the fall of 1989 to lead this band i will say you don’t know what you have missed!

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