Strike Up the Band!

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Smiths Station Starting Community Band

BY HANNAH LESTER
HLESTER@OPELIKAOBSERVER.COM

Smiths Station is starting a community band — an opportunity for students, Smiths Station alumni and community members to come together and play.

The band will meet on Tuesday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m. EST.

“My replacement at Smiths Station, current director of bands (and former student) Mr. Gene Butler, asked me if I would consider working with the group,” said Rusty Courson. “There has been interest in starting a community band in Smiths Station for a number of years, but when I was the director of bands, I simply didn’t have time to do it.  Mr. Butler finds himself in the same situation today, so he offered to assist me with the administrative and clerical duties if I would serve as the conductor of the group.  After considerable thought on my part, I eventually agreed to do so.”

This is Smiths Station’s first community band and it will meet for the first time on Jan. 25.

“I don’t have exact numbers, but Mr. Butler indicates that we have a great number of people from the area on our initial roster,” he said. “We utilized social media to recruit new members, with many of those signing up being part of the Smiths Station Band as students. However, there are also a number of other members from other areas in Lee and Russell Counties, along with the Columbus area. There are also some members of the current Smiths Station band that are playing secondary instruments.

“I don’t anticipate any issues at all.  There will be current students and alumni members, but there will also be individuals that have never been involved with the Smiths Station Band Program. I know of individuals that have signed up that are associated with the Opelika Band, the Beauregard Band, the Beulah Band, along with other band programs that I’m not aware of.  The only requirement is an interest in getting together on a weekly basis to make music.”

The band will perform but not in conjunction with the high school band.

“We were initially planning on a concert in mid-March and another just prior to the end of school, but we may have to adjust that since we’re starting a little later than planned,” Courson said. “Keep in mind, we will have two hours of rehearsal time each week. The school bands generally have between five and eight hours of rehearsal time a week.”

The band will meet in the Smiths Station High School Band Room. More information can be found on Facebook at:www.facebook.com/smithsstationbandprogram.

“The community band just gives people in the area an opportunity to express themselves musically,” Courson said.

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