Before the members of the Hendersonville Community Band take to the stage on Sunday, April 30, for the group’s spring concert, they will have invested countless hours in preparation, practice and even physical labor to give Hendersonville-area residents a musical experience to remember. The group’s presence within the community, thanks to an ebb and flow of participants, is 32 years strong.
Coming from all walks of life, the 75-member band includes music professionals, members who’ve played continuously since grade school, some who had set their instruments aside for decades and at least one who never performed until adulthood.
No matter their level of expertise, all members have a common objective. Joella Newberry, group historian, puts it this way: “We share great joy in coming together each week to be immersed in music, taking seriously our dedication to excellent performances for the community.”
Then and nowIn 1991, Jim Stokes, former Hendersonville High School band director, placed an ad in the paper announcing a meeting for those interested in a community band. Jerry Zink, who hadn’t played in over 40 years, heard about it through the grapevine and was one of about 60 people who showed up.
“Not all of them stuck,” says Zink, a charter member. But Zink did, and he went on to become the first president of the group.
Since its launch, the band has performed more than 150 times — initially at Hendersonville High School’s auditorium before eventually moving to the large hall at Blue Ridge Community College, where the group now averages 400-500 people per concert.
The Hendersonville Community Band offers four performances a year: one in the fall, one during the winter holidays and two in the spring. Tickets are $10; students can attend for free.
Stokes served as conductor for 14 years and is now the group’s conductor emeritus. Current conductor Winiford Franklin has led the band for the past 12 years. Franklin taught high school band for 43 years in Florida and has played in or guest-conducted 10 community bands. Just last month the band announced the addition of an associate conductor, Cole Hairston, the current director of bands at Brevard College.
Longevity factorsMembers attribute the band’s longevity to several factors. Band President Carol Talbot believes the wide age span, 17-95, lends to continuity. In addition, the fact that there are still several charter members in the band gives stability. “Every time we have new people move into leadership positions, we have members who have held that position mentor them,” Talbot says.
Charter member Crystal Smith believes the organization endures due to the leadership of its founder. “Mr. Stokes knew that a volunteer band should govern itself,” she says. “We have an elected board of directors who make decisions that include input from all the members.”
Other factors mentioned include strong school music programs through which most members learned to play their instruments, advertising for concerts and word-of-mouth.
A multifaceted missionWatching this group perform, it’s impossible to miss members’ enjoyment and enthusiasm. But what is their mission?
According to Talbot, it is multifaceted. First, the musicians desire to promote the status of community bands in the United States through concerts and other performance opportunities.
Franklin purposely chooses music that the audience might recognize. Concert programs include jazz, Broadway tunes and classic band music as well as various marches.
Each concert typically includes a guest performer. Some former participants include choral groups, a clarinet player, trombone player and a bell choir. The group also hosts guest conductors. At the April 30 concert, the featured guest will be the Blue Ridge Symphonic Brass, conducted by Jamie Hafner.
Twice, the band has commissioned pieces to be written for the group. Robert Sheldon arranged the first — The Blue Ridge – Traditional Blue Ridge Folk Tunes — for the group’s 25th anniversary. Five years later, Bill Locklear wrote the second, Balm in Gilead, for the band’s 30th anniversary.
Support through scholarshipsIn order to garner more interest in music through education, the band also offers scholarships to college music majors as well as high school students.
Two scholarships are offered for students enrolled in North Carolina college music education programs. They are the Joan Tripp College Scholarship of $2,500, and the $1,000 Ralph Campbell College Scholarship.
Furthermore, board member Keith Anderson reaches out to the four high school band directors in Henderson County to find potential recipients. “Our intent is to offer scholarships for high school students interested in going to a summer music program,” he explains. “It is a good opportunity for students to expand their boundaries and work with other students their age as well as professionals who can help them grow in their abilities.”
This scholarship is available to this year’s rising ninth- to 12th-grade students. The hope is they will bring their experiences back to their band in the fall. The high school recipients are acknowledged at the concert in April, as well as at the high school graduations, giving an opportunity to promote band participation to their peers.
The pandemic, says Anderson, affected music programs from grade school all the way to college. Grade school students didn’t have the opportunity to start playing an instrument. Many who had started lost interest and haven’t returned to the band programs. Due to the break in continuity, colleges struggle to get music majors.
“It is a critical time to hop back in and help get students back into the swing of band,” Anderson says.
Artistic outletAnother key goal of the band is to offer opportunities for musicians to play. According to Franklin, it gives the members an artistic outlet apart from home and work. After retirement, many find themselves with extra time on their hands, and they decide to pick up an instrument they haven’t touched for years. He notes that with hard work, most of them can regain their earlier skill level.
“They are a fun bunch,” Franklin says. “They work hard and learn quickly.”
With only seven to eight hours of group rehearsals before each concert, most members practice from several times a week to daily to be prepared for the concert.
Members note the value of the camaraderie and strong friendships the band offers, as well as the life skills it reinforces such as discipline, increased attention and reliability. Members express pride in nonmusicians who participate in other ways, such as Gail Zink, their “charter usher,” who has worked every concert since the beginning.
A strong sense of teamwork is evident. As the band is a volunteer group, even the setup and breakdown are up to the band members. “It’s just us,” board member Kathy Reid says.
While it may be a lot of work, it does come with one particular reward. As Newberry says, “There is a sense of accomplishment and pride for both the individual and the whole group when we do well.”
WHAT: Hendersonville Community Band performs Adventures for Band & Brass
WHEN: 3 p.m. Sunday, April 30, avl.mx/cln
WHERE: Blue Ridge Conference Hall, 180 W. Campus Drive, Flat Rock.
Written by: Miriam Bradley For the Mountain Express
Click below to view the article.
The Hendersonville Community Band is pleased to announce its final concert of the season “Adventures for Band and Brass” on Sunday April 30. There are several exciting features for the concert. Dr. Cole Hairston, Director of Bands at Brevard College will make his first appearance as Associate Conductor of HCB, conducting a lovely Grainger piece, Australian Up-Country Tune.
The Blue Ridge Symphonic Brass, a well-known group will perform several pieces with Jamie Hafner conducting. Hafner is Director Emeritus of Bands at The University of Toledo and Director Emeritus of Education and former Dean of Faculty at the Brevard Music Center. He will conduct the BRSB in several pieces including The Danserye, a six movement piece by Tielman Susato. Hafner will also conduct the combined BRSB and HCB on Music for a Festival by Gordon Jacob.
The program will be rounded out by long-time HCB Conductor Winford Franklin leading HCB in several selections including: Chester (William Schuman), On a Hymnsong of Philip Bliss (David Holsinger), Valdres (Johannes Hanssen), The Phantom of the Opera (Andrew Lloyd Webber), and I Will Follow Him (arr. Roland Smeets).
In keeping with the HCB mission to further music education, HCB will present the Ralph Campbell College Scholarship, and the Joan Tripp College Scholarships.
Join us for an exciting afternoon, April 30, Blue Ridge Conference Hall, Blue Ridge Community College, 3:00pm. Admission is $10.00 per person and is free to students. Tickets are available at The Visitors’ Center and at the door. For additional informational call 828.713.8590.
At our next performance, “March Winds,” HCB is pleased to introduce HCB clarinetist and Brevard College Director of Bands, Cole Hairston. Hairston joined the music faculty of Brevard College last fall and for his first appearance on our podium will conduct A Copeland Portrait.
Returning for another appearance as guest conductor is HCB trombonist Joe Brashier. He will be conducting Glenn Miller’s Greatest Hits bringing memories of American Patrol, String of Pearls, Moonlight Serenade, Tuxedo Junction, Little Brown Jug, Chattanooga Choo Choo, St. Louis Blues March, and In the Mood.
Longtime HCB conductor Winfred Franklin will conduct The Blue Ridge (Arr. Robert Sheldon) which HCB, now in its 32nd season, commissioned for its 25th anniversary. A Touch of Tuba (Art Dedrick) featuring HCB Tuba soloist James Bannish, Band Director at North Buncombe Middle School, is sure to be a hit. Other numbers include Solas Ane - Gaelic Yesterday’s Joy (Hazo), Pentland Hills (Major J.W. Howe), La Bamba de Vera Cruz (Terig Tucci), and Finale from New World Symphony (Antonin Dvorak).
The HCB Flute Choir aka “Who’s on First” will play Hopak – a Ukrainian Folk Dance by Moussorgsky, a Scott Joplin Rag - The Cascades, Allegro (Quantz) and Funeral March of a Marionette (Gounod).
The performance will be on Sunday, March 5, at the Blue Ridge Conference Hall, BRCC, at 3:00. Tickets are available at the Hendersonville Visitors Information Center and the Crate Wine Market in Laurel Park, as well as at the door. Adults are $10.00; students are free. For further information call 828-713-8590.
Submitted by Carol Talbot, HCB President
The Hendersonville Community Band will present its 31st holiday concert, “Sounds of the Season,” at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11, at Blue Ridge Conference Hall at BRCC.
Guest soprano soloist Mary Beth Brody will join the band and lead the audience for "The Star-Spangled Banner" and a Christmas Pop Sing-A-Long. Solo pieces with band accompaniment are "On with the Snow!" "Still, Still, Still" and "Grown-Up Christmas List." Brody holds a master’s degree in choral conducting and voice pedagogy from Loyola University. She moved to the area in 2000 and continues an active career in conducting choral groups and as a vocalist.
The guest conductor on this concert, Chris Wilson, is no stranger to Hendersonville as he grew up here and graduated from Hendersonville High School. Wilson earned his masters in conducting from Northern Arizona University and was an outstanding band director for many years. A few years ago, he changed his emphasis and is currently finishing his doctorate in school administration while serving as assistant principal at HHS. Wilson will conduct "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" and play in the trumpet and percussion sections.
HCB's conductor and musical director for the past 12 seasons, Winford Franklin, will be on the podium for additional numbers including "Away in a Manger," "It Came upon a Midnight Clear," "Mary’s Little Boy Child," "Greensleeves" and more.
Tickets are $10 and may be purchased in advance from Henderson County Visitors Center and Crate Wine Market in Laurel Park. Tickets are also available at the door. For more information call 828-713-8590.
Bill Locklear (b. 1947) has composed at the professional, community, university and public school levels for over forty years including many commissioned works. Mr. Locklear was asked in 1993 to arrange music for the Atlanta Braves World Series homecoming party and in 1996 Mr. Locklear’s compositions were featured at the Atlanta Summer Olympic Games. His music is published by TRN Music and Arrangers Publishing Company. Memberships include ASCAP, National Band Association, NAfME, Georgia Music Educators Association and Epsilon Nu chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.
During his thirty-year music education career Mr. Locklear served at the elementary, middle and high school levels. He was twice named “S.T.A.R. Teacher” for the Effingham County school system and selected for “Who’s Who in Teaching” three times. He holds the Bachelor of Science in Education from Jacksonville State University and is a frequent guest conductor in the southeastern United States.
As a performer Mr. Locklear has appeared as a professional bassist for over five decades, appearing with such diverse entertainers as Bob Hope, Frankie Avalon, Frank Gorshen, Dick Shawn, Rita Moreno, Buddy Grecco, Rich Little, Carol Channing, Kate Smith, Kay Starr and jazz musicians Jerry Coker, Clark Terry, Joe Morello, Jimmy Heath, Tom Ferguson, Joe Jones and Slide Hampton. He is the conductor/music director for popular singer Curtis Reed and currently performs with the Clocktower Jazz Ensemble, the Cobb New Horizons Jazz Ensemble and leads his own jazz trio. Mr. Locklear resides in Kennesaw, Georgia with his wife and two children.
Thirty-two seasons ago, well-known band director and symphony conductor Jim Stokes placed an ad in the Times News inviting interested musicians to meet about starting a community band. He was hopeful that 12-15 people might show up. Over 50 people, instruments in hand, showed up and HCB was born! This celebration concert has twice been delayed by covid, so it is now our 32nd season, but our 30th celebration.
In commemoration of this special event, HCB commissioned Bill Locklear to arrange the piece, “Balm in Gilead,” which will be premiered at the concert Oct. 16. Locklear will conduct this new piece and some other works of his “Lullabye” and “A Praetorius Hymn.”
HCB long-time Music Director and Conductor, Winford Franklin, will be conducting the ever-exciting “Procession of the Nobles” (Rimsky-Korsakov), Selections from “Les Miserables” (arr. Warren Barker), “The Beatles: Echoes of an Era” (arr. John Higgins) as well as “Queen City Suite” (Charles Carter), a three-movement composition representing life the Midwest.
HCB hopes you can join us for this special celebration concert on Sunday, October 16, 3:00 pm, Blue Ridge Community College Conference Hall. Tickets are $10.00 and may be purchased in advance from The Hendersonville Visitors Information Center, Crate Wine Market in Laurel Park, or at the door. For more information call 828-713-8590. HCB especially invites all former members of the band and Charter Members to attend!
It's that time again! Concert season!
2022/2023 Concert Season
October 16th, 2022 at 3:00pm
December 11th, 2022 at 3:00pm
March 5th, 2023 at 3:00pm
April 30th, 2023 at 3:00pm
Tickets: Adults $10; Students Free. (Taxes included)
The hall has open seating and there is plenty of free handicap accessible parking behind the hall. Tickets are available from Hendersonville Visitors Information Center on Main St., the Crate Wine Market, Laurel Park, at the door on the day, or from any band member.
Mask Protocol for 10/16 ConcertBlue Ridge Community College has changed their mask policy from required to optional, with a very strong recommendation that masks be worn in large group settings. Thank you for your consideration and protection of our community.
Blue Ridge Community College has recently changed its mask policy from required to optional, with a very strong recommendation that masks be worn in large group settings.
Mask Protocol for 12/05 Concert
Blue Ridge Community College has recently changed its mask policy from required to optional, with a very strong recommendation that masks be worn in large group settings. In keeping with this new policy of the college, masks will be optional at our December 5 concert, but also with the recommendation that masks be worn. Proof of vaccination or a negative covid test result as on December 3rd, 4th or 5th is still required. Thank you all so very much for your support and understanding in these difficult times. We are so humbled to be playing for you once again!
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