Community Band to give first performance

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 8, 2000

Staff Writer

Pike County will be treated to an old-fashioned outdoor concert, courtesy of a group of veteran musicians, when the Southeast Alabama Community Concert Band, gives its first performance on June 25.

Directed by Dr. Johnny Long, the concert will be at 7 p.m. in the Troy State University amphitheater and admission will be free.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

"We wanted to create the nostalgia of an old fashioned concert in the park," Long said. "We want everyone to come out and bring the whole family, bring some food, and have a good time."

Long said the band will be playing songs that range from Broadway show tunes to John Phillip Sousa marches.

"Art Williams, who is a fine pianist, will be playing a Ralph Ford (TSU director of bands) arrangement entitled ‘Southern Hymn Medley,’ which consists of some classic southern hymns," Long said. "We will also be playing ‘Il Guarney’ by Gomez which is considered to be one of the most difficult overtures for any band."

The community band consists of a group of 45 music educators, professionals and experienced musicians from Troy and throughout southeast Alabama.

"They are all very fine players and most everyone has been playing for at least 20 years," Long said.

Long said he had been approached many times in the past about starting a community band for Troy and the surrounding areas, but had been reluctant to do so. He said it was his wife who encouraged him to finally get involved in the community band project and the band was formed in January.

"I don’t know if she wanted to get me out the house or just give me something to do, but she really encouraged me to get involved," Long said.

He began to call friends and colleagues to see who would be interested in the band. Musicians from all over southeast Alabama answered the call and the band has been practicing on Mondays ever since.

The upcoming concert will be the band’s first performance, but three other concerts are planned for the summer. They will be performing in Opelika on July 10, in Bainbridge Ga. on July 23 and in Elba on July 30.

"I’ve really enjoyed being involved with this," Long said. "None of us are getting paid for this, we’re doing it because we enjoy it and because we want to."