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Conway Community Band provides free concerts, outlet for musicians

Posted: June 4, 2014 - 5:29pm

The city of Conway had a community band many years ago, but for some reason it went dormant, said Ricky Brooks, director of bands at the University of Central Arkansas.

About five years ago Brooks got the idea to see what interest there would be if Conway were to reestablish its community band.

With the help of Conway High School Band Director Tim Cunningham, Brooks started it back up, and now serves as director of the Conway Community Band.

“We got the word out and we had a terrific response the first year back,” he said. “Every year since we’ve had a stronger and bigger band.”

The purpose of the Conway Community Band is to afford any individual regardless of age or income, who previously or currently plays a band instrument, an outlet to perform in rehearsal and public performance.

The band also fosters community spirit through free public concerts in a family- oriented environment, and the band promotes the enjoyment of music for the people of Conway and surrounding communities.

Any person who previously or currently plays a band instrument is welcome to become a member.

Brooks said Conway Community Band members have an age range of 16 years old to about 74 years old.

“Some of the members are band directors, others work for Acxiom, some are insurance agents — it’s a cross section of odd jobs and professions,” Brooks said.

Members travel from Morrilton, Little Rock, North Little Rock, Greenbrier and as far as Heber Springs to come play in the band, Brooks said.

Each of the Community Band’s performances consists of a different theme. This weekend the band will perform music that is influenced and played during times of war.

The concert theme is “Music of Wartime,” music associated with the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and World War II. Highlights from the concert include “The Blue and the Gray,” “When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” “Concord,” “Schindler’s List,” “The Fighting 99th Squadron,” and “Black Horse Troop March.”

Travis Shaver, a UCA music major from Clinton, will perform the clarinet solo in Schindler’s List.

The concert will be Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Simon Park. The concert is free and everyone is invited to bring a lawn chair or blanket and come enjoy an evening of music in downtown Conway.

In the event of rain, the concert will be held in the Ida Waldran Auditorium on the University of Central Arkansas campus. 

To celebrate the 4th of July, the Conway Community Band has invited the Arkansas Army National Guard Five Star Brass Quintet.

The Brass Quintet will play at the beginning of the Community Band’s concert on July 3 at 7:30 p.m. in Simon Park. They will also play during intermission.

Anyone is welcome to attend rehearsal and join the Conway Community Band for one of its upcoming July 4th performance.

Brooks said the band is meant to be for the people of the community and there are no stipulations for membership.

For more information visit ucabands.com, and click on the Conway Community Band link at the bottom of the page.

(Staff writer Michelle Corbet can be reached by email at michelle.corbet@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1215. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)

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