By MICHELLE SCHMIDT
Following the P1FCU Old Fashioned 4th of July at Lewiston’s Pioneer Park, the band will perform a wide range of familiar music, culminating in patriotic tunes, marches and a military medley.
“There won’t be many songs people won’t recognize,” said Garry Walker, director of the band since 2005.
The band includes anywhere from 30 – 50 members of all ages. Walker, a retired longtime music educator who taught locally and in the Seattle area, feels that the diversity of the group is one of its assets.
“One of the things about our band that’s unique is that we have junior high, high school and college students, along with former and current band directors,” Walker said.
The volunteer group also draws a number of retired individuals, who have since found time to return to a music hobby they developed earlier in life.
“Sports are wonderful, but playing football is a different experience when you’re 75 — but you can still play music,” Walker said.
For those who play concert band instruments, the community band is one of the few open opportunities to play in a group setting. No auditions are held, Walker said, but members should be able to read music and attend the two-hour weekly practices held Tuesday evenings at Jenifer Junior High in Lewiston.
“It gives everyone who has that hobby an outlet,” said Becky Riendaeu, who plays in the band with her husband.
Besides the chance to use and develop her skills as a musician, the rehearsals offer Riendaeu the chance to interact with others who have musical interests. Quite often they’re people she’d never cross paths with otherwise.
“That’s what we have in common, it’s our music,” Riendaeu said.
The camaraderie in the group is so well developed, it sometimes takes precedence over the music.
“They like each other so much and get social enough, it’s hard to get them to quit talking long enough to rehearse,” Walker said.
Although the band is focusing on patriotic and familiar tunes for the upcoming concert, they perform a wide variety of musical pieces throughout the year. It’s one thing, Walker said, audiences have appreciated about their work.
“We take it seriously, we do the best we can,” said Walker. “It’s for the love of music.”
The band typically plays five concerts a year. Indoor concerts are generally held at the Lewiston High School auditorium with one taking place shortly before Thanksgiving, another at the end of March and one in May. There are generally two outdoor concerts a year, both held at the bandshell at Pioneer Park, one on Father’s Day and the other on the Fourth of July. All concerts are free of charge and typically last around an hour and a half.
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: Lewis Clark Community Concert Band
WHEN: 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 4
WHERE: Pioneer Park, Lewiston