Concert band looking for recruits

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The Chippewa Valley Concert Band is looking for players, no matter their skill level. UW-Eau Claire students with all degrees of experience are welcome to join the group of about 50 musicians who meet weekly at DeLong Middle School to share their passion for the art of song.

“We are definitely interested in always recruiting new players,” said Cindy Peterson, publicity coordinator for the band. “We play for fun, we enjoy what we do, and we . have no specific talent levels that are included in that.”

The band begins rehearsals for its Nov. 11 concert at 7 p.m. Monday.

The Veterans Day performance will have a patriotic theme, Peterson said. Until then, the group will meet every Monday evening to prepare for the first of its three yearly concerts.

The heart of the band, however, is not necessarily centered on perfecting the performances, Peterson said. First and foremost, they play for enjoyment.

She said the band’s director, Ron Gard, is a “goofball,” and “he likes to have fun; he likes to keep it light. He very much wants to maintain a concert band atmosphere.”

The only guideline is they prefer adult players, she said, but other than that, the doors are wide open. There are even members who know they will not be able to perform at the end of the season but attend the rehearsals anyway just to play.

“We have everything from . your high school band dropout who just misses playing to . several band directors,” she said. “Any level of player is welcome.”

Peterson plays first part flute and she’s been playing with the group for the past four years. She said rehearsals are a time to forget the stress of everyday life.

“To me, it’s my down time,” Peterson said. “You go, you get away from your life, and you just relax for an hour and a half and enjoy what you’re doing. . It’s my escape.”

She said she also enjoys getting together with people who “are all clearly very passionate about music and enjoy playing.”

The group performs every November, with music that is generally classic American, Peterson said. In December, for the second performance, the focus is on holiday tunes, some contemporary and some classic. Finally, the theme of the last concert in early spring – usually around April – varies, though it always centers around concert band music.

The band collects dues of $15 at the beginning of the year, Peterson said, and those interested are invited to simply show up at a rehearsal. All they need to do is bring an instrument and be ready to play.

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