Every journey begins with a single step. The Jackson Hole Community Band will begin it’s 2018-19 season with the many racing steps of Old Bills Fun Run. Who could ask for a better way to start?
For me, Old Bills has always been the start. Two years ago, I made my debut as the conductor on a wonderful sunny morning in Town Square. Since then, I have made new friends and strengthened old ones, seen the eyes of children light up when they hear a familiar Halloween tune, given audience members a journey around the world and through time and seen a side of Jackson that loves and appreciates the arts on a community level. My experiences are only a small fraction of the great experiences had by all the members of the band since its inception in 1989. This year we share some of those experiences leading up to Old Bills with a Meet a Member Campaign. Select members of the group will have a chance to blog on our website about their experiences with the band and why they still love being a member.
The music we’ll be playing at the Square will reflect the spirit of our group. From the zany sounds of The Muppets Theme to the laid back sounds of MacDonald and Hanley’s Indiana to the somewhat suspicious sounds of The Stripper. Every tune will help make this early September morning energize. And with that, every band member will bring their own personality into the music we present for you.
One thing I can’t forget to mention is the importance of donating to the Community Band via Old Bills Fun Run. Examples of how your donations help include instrument repair, maintenance of library materials, radio and newspaper publicity, rehearsal and concert space rentals, and so forth. These details are only a mere trifle as compared to the real intent of your donation. Your donation shows the love and support for community music making and its impact on the future of our society. I’ll see you on the square!
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.
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.