In honor of its 10th anniversary, the Stanly County Concert Band has commissioned a new piece to debut at its upcoming fall concert.
The piece, titled “Never”, which was composed by Joseph Earp, who was director of instrumental music at Pfeiffer University last year, is a testament to the band’s resilience over the past decade, especially recent years.
“It’s based on us because we never gave up, through Covid and everything, we kept persevering,” said co-director Carmella Hedrick, who has been with the program since its inception. She plays the flute while her husband Tim, another co-director, plays the clarinet.
And it’s this perseverance and a shared passion for music among its members that has allowed a once fledgling group to grow and become an integral part of Stanly County’s arts culture. The group has around 45 members, slightly less than before Covid but more than double the number when the group formed in 2012.
Over the years, the group has grown stronger as its members, many of whom have been involved from the start, have helped each other improve.
“The band has become such an important part of the community and for the people in it, it’s a huge part of everybody’s life,” said founding member Clif Robertson, who plays trumpet. “We all love music. We play as much for ourselves as for others. »
Clarinetist Lisa Ewers, who is the band’s president, says the members have developed such strong personal relationships with each other over the years that the band, in essence, has become like a second family.
“When you’re a musician, it’s a unique family and that’s a lot of what this orchestra is to each other,” she said. “We speak the same language, we enjoy the same musical art and we want to share that with other people, to uplift others.”
As weekly practices for the new season resumed in August (the band rehearses Thursday evenings in the Pfeiffer Music Room), Hedrick feels there is a surge of energy as the members are well aware and proud of the cape. of 10 years.
“I think everyone is excited, I know I am,” she said.
People 18 and older with musical experience are welcome to join, whether they’re seasoned veterans or haven’t played since high school.
“We’re lucky to have great musicians, but we also have those who love to play and never had any training after high school,” Hedrick said. “We ask them to play what they can and we have enough people who can play the rest. So when everything falls into place, it’s great.
“It’s all about having fun, we don’t turn anyone away,” Robinson said, noting that auditions aren’t required to become a member.
One of the youngest members, Mila Rutter, 23, who plays trumpet, joined in 2019 after hearing about it from Hedrick, her instructor at Stanly Community College.
Now a student at Pfeiffer, Rutter appreciates everything she learned during her time in the band, saying she grew as a musician and became more confident as a person.
Since individual musical abilities and skills often vary from group to group, members are advised to “do no harm”, which means that if someone is not comfortable with a certain part of a piece, he doesn’t have to play it.
“It’s not like, ‘Hey, we’re going to push you out of your comfort level,'” Rutter said. “It’s always something you’re comfortable with and if you’re not, we can work around that.”
About the next concert
For its fall concert, “A Decade in the Making: Tenth Anniversary Celebration,” which takes place at 7 p.m. Nov. 3 at the Stanly County Agri-Civic Center, the orchestra brings back popular musical selections that were performed during of the years.
These include both audience favourites, including soundtrack excerpts from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films as well as music composed by John Williams for the “Star Wars” films, and band favorites, such as “Pilatus: Mountain of Dragons” by Steven Reinecke and “Shenandoah” by Frank Tichelli.
There will also be three new tracks: “Fanfare for a New Era” by Pinkzebra, “Cosmic Wonder” by Bruce Tippett and “Never” by Earp, which the band describes as a fast-tempo contemporary track.
“There’s a constant energy about it that keeps pushing you forward,” Ewers said of Earp’s piece, which she thinks audiences will appreciate.
Carmella and Tim Hedrick, along with Frank Poolos, will conduct three pieces each, while guest conductor Earp will oversee “Never.” The concert should last approximately 75 minutes.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary, those attending the concert will receive a free t-shirt and be given a ticket at the door, which will entitle them to raffle prizes.
“We want to thank the community for supporting us over the past decade,” Hedrick said.
The concert is free to the public.
The band’s Christmas concert will be held Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. at Albemarle Central United Methodist Church.
To learn more about the band, visit stanlycountyconcertband.com.