2010-03-25 / Front Page

Band concert postponed due to weather

Jamestown Community Band kicks off season Tuesday
By Holly Benton

The Jamestown Community Band features island musicians of all ages and experience levels. Members say playing with the band is a great way to improve your musical abilities and be a part of the community. The group will perform its spring concert this Tuesday, March 30, at the PAC Holy Ghost Hall. Photo by Jeff McDonough The Jamestown Community Band features island musicians of all ages and experience levels. Members say playing with the band is a great way to improve your musical abilities and be a part of the community. The group will perform its spring concert this Tuesday, March 30, at the PAC Holy Ghost Hall. Photo by Jeff McDonough As the Jamestown Community Band prepares for its first spring concert in years, members remember the mutual love of music and community that has made the band a success.

Founded as a parade alternative to a boom box on a jeep, the JCB was established in 1993 by island resident and physician Dr. Joe England.

The band has since proved to be a joy to its members and to the Jamestown community.

“I figured, there’s got to be enough people in this town to put a band together,” England said. “But the credit goes to the people who have continued it. I’m amazed at all the work everyone has done.”

Open to everybody roughly 12 and older who wishes to cultivate an interest in music, the band is a mix of accomplished and beginning musicians, including Judy Nelson, band secretary and trumpet player, who said she picked up her trumpet this past year for the first time since the sixth grade.

“Playing with the band not only reignites my love of music, but it allows me to make new friends and gives me a great sense of community here in Jamestown,” Nelson said. “While I am still getting reacquainted with my instrument and abilities, many of our members are really quite accomplished musicians. Some have advanced degrees in music, some teach or have taught music, and some are professional musicians that simply love the Americana that our band brings to the community.”

The JCB performs regularly in Jamestown and in surrounding communities at a variety of events, including the “Concert on the Green” series, opening days for youth sports leagues, Jamestown’s yearly talent show and both the Memorial and Fourth of July parades.

Band president and percussionist Bill Knapp said that the spring concert is the first event of the season and will be exciting for all, especially new members that have joined since the last concert in December.

“A first concert with a new group, no matter how many years of involvement, always has a certain amount of excitement,” he said. “We’re playing some music by Percy Grainger and Ralph Vaughn Williams that we haven’t played before, which is interesting for us and hopefully, for the audience.”

Looking forward to the upcoming concert, JCB director Bethany Clarke said the music, which in addition to Grainger and Williams includes Colonel Bogey’s March and Stars And Stripes Forever, is “fantastic” and thinks that the audience will enjoy listening.

“I tried to be more traditional in my selection of the music for this concert,” she said. “The band has a decent library, but I wanted to get more band standards, so I went through several scores and found arrangements that were attainable for our group. Some of the pieces are quite challenging, but the band has stepped up to the plate.”

A double major in music history and education, and a senior at URI, Clarke began her career with the band as a flautist in the sixth grade and said she fell into the position of director last March after the previous director left.

“Conducting the band has been a great opportunity for me,” she said. “I have been enrolled in conducting independent studies at URI, and having this practical experience has helped me grow so much as a conductor. I have also become very personally attached to the band. I’ve made some fantastic relationships with great Jamestown musicians.”

With such a vast range of ages and experience levels, Clarke said that the size of the band has grown in anticipation of the upcoming concert. She looks forward to the future of the band, saying that she hopes for a positive musical experience not only for the members, but also for the community.

“I would love to have more members of local communities join the band,” she said. “It is a great place for students to explore their talents. The more people we have in the band, the more repertoires we can do, and the more we can learn from each other.”

Nelson agrees, saying that her hope for the future of the band is for it to continue to grow and serve Jamestown.

“Playing in the band is a great way to improve your musical abilities and be a part of the community. Also, playing in the band is just really fun,” she said. “I am not only looking forward to our upcoming spring concert, but I am very excited for the season’s musical events to begin.”

The concert will take place Tuesday, March 30, at 7 p.m. at the Portuguese American Citizens Club in Jamestown. The PAC Club bar and restaurant, a favorite for band members, will be open for business as well. Admission is free.
Jamestown Community
Band Concert
7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 30
PAC Holy Ghost Hall

Return to top