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Wednesday, 08 November 2006 00:00

Old instruments sing again: Community band effort provides new homes for neglected instruments

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By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer

Jacob Clark, a sixth-grader at Waynesville Middle School, likes the trumpet.

“It’s easy to play,” he says.

 

In afternoon band class he sits with his schoolmates, sounding out short rhythmic measures while director David Teague keeps time with a wooden stick and bell. The class is all brass, creating a terrific din.

Clark isn’t much of one for traditional team sports.

“The only sport I do is hunting and fishing,” he says.

But he became interested in music after “hearing other people being able to play that good.” Brass band music isn’t what he’s usually in to — country — but nonetheless he still likes playing it after his first nine weeks of band class.

Clark is one of three students at Waynesville Middle who received their band instruments through a program that helps students who want to pursue music in school but are unable to afford an instrument.

The Haywood Community Band’s Lonely Instruments For Needy Kids (LINKS) program relies on instrument donations, regardless of their condition. Funds raised during Community Band concerts go toward repairing and refurbishing the instruments.

Students apply to the LINKS program for an instrument and based on those applications and school music staff reviews, instruments are then loaned out for use in the school band. So far this year the LINKS program has provided seven students with instruments.

If the student chooses not to continue to participate in the school music program, the loaned instrument is returned to the LINKS program to be given to another student. But if the student makes satisfactory progress, the instrument becomes his or her’s to keep.

The LINKS program grew out of the Community Band’s efforts to get people involved with music regardless of age or experience. The band began in July 2002, growing from an initial interest group of about seven to its current roster of about 35 regular musicians, said Founder and Director Emeritus Bob Hill.

Often students get involved with music through school band, but once they get out of high school they put their instruments away — under the bed, in the closet, up in the attic — perhaps keeping them for sentimental reasons, but never having much cause to play them again.

“There’s no place for them to express their musical talents and that’s why I started the band,” Hill said.

Of the one-time musicians who first gathered to start the band, most hadn’t played for 30 years or more, Hill said. But having learned to play music is a talent not easily lost. The knowledge of how to read a musical score, finger a chord, or keep in tempo stays tucked away in that mental filing cabinet, just waiting for the occasion to be used.

As testament to the fact, the Community Band played its first concert on the Haywood County Courthouse lawn on Labor Day 2002 — just one month after its organization. Now under the direction of Dick Trevarthen, the band has gone on to hold a regular concert series in Maggie Valley from May through October, and play the occasional event such as the upcoming Veteran’s Day program to be held Nov. 11 at the Colonial Theater in Canton. The financial donations collected at these concerts go toward funding LINKS program instrument repairs, as the Band is a non-profit organization.

Musicians interested in joining the Community Band are invited to attend rehearsals, held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday evenings at the Grace Episcopal Church in Waynesville. The Band is a purely volunteer organization and no auditions are required to join. Members come from Haywood County and the surrounding communities.

For more information about the band call Director Dick Trevarthen at 828.456.3015 or Band President John Barrett at 828.452.5553.


Want to Contribute?

To donate an instrument or money for instrument repairs to the Haywood Community Band’s Lonely Instruments For Needy Kids program, contact Mary Thomas at 828.452.3522.

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