RONDA — Every Thursday evening at East Wilkes High School, the Yadkin Valley Community Band brings together local people of all ages to work and play in harmony.
Six years ago Jennifer Weddington, director of the bands at East Wilkes High and Middle School, with her husband Mike, commiserated with friends over the lack of a place to play the instruments they had worked so hard to learn. “We said, ‘We want to play. Where can we play? There’s no place to play,’” explained Jennifer, who now hosts about 50 people each Thursday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at East Wilkes High. “It was needed apparently. We really enjoy playing and meeting the many different people who join us each year.”
“I have been doing this since its inception,” claimed Sherri Collins. “I just enjoy playing and being part of this group of people from high school to those who are retired. We enjoy the camaraderie and the making music and keeping our skills going.”
“We have retired band directors, high school students, business folks, medical professionals, religious leaders, instrument technicians, and current music educators all working together to make a beautiful sound,” enthused current director Melanie Watson. “It is not unusual to have a semi-professional player sitting next to an amateur. And the best part of it all is the joy and optimism in each rehearsal, even with that diversity! We are all united by our love of music.”
“We wanted to offer an opportunity for community members and advanced high school students to join a band and continue playing in a relaxed environment,” explained Jennifer. “The music is more advanced than a beginning band so it will appeal to young players and also the more experienced players.”
As a community group it is attractively representative. “There may be a doctor next to a student next to an educator,” described Jennifer, “or someone who has just started to play next to someone who has been playing for years.”
This is part of the reason there are no rules about attendance before a performance such as the one scheduled at the Dixon Auditorium in Elkin on April 6. “We don’t have any rules,” stated Jennifer, “this is supposed to be fun.”
“We accept anyone who wishes to join as long as they can play a band instrument at a decent level or are willing to learn,” invited Jennifer. “To become a member, you just have to show up with an instrument and join in.”
For more information on performances or how to join the Yadkin Valley Community Band, email [email protected]
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.