The Jackson Hole Community band is a 30-piece ensemble founded in 1989. We rehearse nearly year-around to provide free entertainment - from old favorites by Duke Ellington, to toe tapping marches by Sousa, to classics by Mussorgsky, at many community events, public concerts, and parades. Our members, all volunteers, hail from backgrounds as diverse as engineering, software, medicine, law, real estate, and the clergy and range in age from early-teens to the eighties. We have no skill level requirement or auditions, but prefer people who have played at least the junior high skill level. Most members have had a 15- to 20- year break before joining. It's never too late to join! To supply musical accompaniment to special events for the benefit of both the musicians and the audience.
I joined the Community Band in 2012, when I was in eighth grade. Most of what I remember about those first rehearsals, sitting between tubist Ron and euphonium Don and getting their names mixed up, was how I got lost reading most of the music and how my mother, a French horn player, thought rehearsals ended too late at night for a thirteen-year-old. Nevertheless, I persisted through the challenging music and intimidating (from my view) roomful of strangers.
Over time, I was able to keep up more often than I fell behind. JHCB pushed me to improve my skills on the trombone, and to always strive to hit that high note, and the next, until before you know it, you have the range of a semi-professional player! Practicing and performing alongside community musicians for the last five years has made me the musician I am today, from technical skills to music theory.
A roomful of strangers became a roomful of friends of all ages. Beyond volunteerism, being part of the band has shown me the enormous value of being part of a tight-knit community of people who love music as much as I do. More than a place to be on Thursday nights, I am truly grateful for the real community the band represents. I intend to play with my family and friends in the community band for years to come.
When the Jackson Hole Community Band was formed for the Wyoming Centennial (re-established we said since Jackson had a small band in 1914), both Nancy and Tom were involved in its organization and rehearsals – Nancy on flute and Tom on tuba. Daughter Stephanie was 2 years old at the time. The band rehearsed in a variety of venues, and Stephanie would occupy herself in back of the band with what toys she brought along. 30 years later, she is still near the back of the band playing trumpet. Currently a member of a five veterinary doctor team in Aspen Colorado, Stephanie takes the band music to Colorado with her and practices along with recordings. In this way, she can still drive back to Jackson to participate with her parents in the band’s performances.
Nancy and Tom’s son Peter attended rehearsals in much the same way a few years after his sister. He became a familiar sight on the back of the band trailer near the percussionists so that he could jump off and chase down sheets of music that blew off the stands. By middle school, he studied percussion, became part of the school bands, and he often played with the Jackson Hole Community band until college. At those times, it was all four of the Ninnemann family playing in performances.
The Jackson Hole Community band was created to be an organization that encouraged musicians to continue to play as adults, and young musicians to build their skills. Indeed, the membership continues to be made up of members aged 14 to 82 and in vocations ranging from students to teachers, attorneys, journalists, veterinarians… and entire families.