BUCKHANNON – The Buckhannon Community Band is gaining steam and looking for more members.
Buckhannon Community Band representative BJ Hoffman attended the Oct. 5 Colonial Arts Center board meeting to go over the progress that’s been made in forming the band and what its goals are.
“We want the community band to uphold and continue the amazing musical energy that is present in Buckhannon; a bunch of people came up to me after WAMSB (2023 World Association of Marching Showbands Championship) and asked if there was an opportunity for us to play together,” Hoffman said. “Taylor [High] and I began moving forward with the process of turning these dreams into reality.”
High is the co-director of the Buckhannon-Upshur High School Band.
The band has been using the CAC for its practices and meets every Thursday from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
“We want the community band to be a place for members of all ages to see that music is something that you can do for your whole entire life,” Hoffman said. “Right now, we do have an age limit of 15, but as the program expands, we hope to lower that and branch out into even mentorship programs and things like that to help younger students learn how to play in an ensemble.”
“We want the community to see that music is something that carries with you for the rest of your life,” he added.
Eventually, community band organizers hope the entity can participate in events such as the West Virginia Strawberry Festival and Create Buckhannon’s Festival Fridays.
“The band currently operates through the Colonial Arts Center, and we have about 20 members who have attended the scheduled meetings and rehearsals,” Hoffman said. “We hope through more recruitment and the Facebook page existing, that more people will join up.”
The band is currently borrowing instruments from West Virginia Wesleyan College in case interested participants can’t afford an instrument, and the band is also providing music to players.
“We plan to have an annual membership fee of $30, and these funds will help support our program through music purchasing, instrumental needs and proceeds will be given back to the Colonial Arts Center for the use of their space,” Hoffman said. “We do not want the membership dues to be the reason people do not join the band, so we want to organize a ‘pay what you can,’ system or a sponsorship system where businesses in the community can support the band so members can play even if they can’t afford the membership fee annually.”
He hopes the band will be a place for anyone who has a desire to play music.
“We want the community band to be something that people look for and look forward to,” Hoffman said. “Even if people don’t play music, we want people to know the community is rallying together to make music happen.”
“We want to be a group that eventually marches in parades, performs at public events, and otherwise shows the multifaceted aspects of musicianship that exist in this town, including open mic performances, jazz and blues combos, jam sessions and other events for the community to participate in.”
To learn more, find the Buckhannon Community Band on social media here.