PICTURE THE HUB: GIVING TIME

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tom offerjost

Westwood Community Band

Editor's note:  This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

You know, the Boy Scout thing. Right?  Well, The Westwood Community Band was my son’s Eagle Scout project. It came time at the end of his junior year to figure out what to do for his project. He couldn't figure out anything. And I said,  you know, you and I have talked for a number of years about how it would be nice to have a community band. They hire all these groups to come in and play. But they need a volunteer community band. So why don't you organize a concert? 

 

And, you know, as a music teacher, I mean, I did help with the project to a certain extent but then two of his music teachers in Westwood stepped up and conducted – we each did a third of the concert. And the idea was that if people liked it, then the following year, the adults would talk about continuing it on their own. And that's basically what happened!  Everybody loved to play and over the years we got more members.

 

Right now we have about 40 members. We're very particular about the instrumentation because you can't have 20 Trumpets, you have to have a certain number of the right instruments. When I retired almost 14 years ago now, that's when we started playing all year long. But there are a lot of people in the band, including myself, that play in other bands. A lot of community band people play in two or three different bands or orchestras, jazz bands, brass bands.

 

So the concert band plays during the summer, we did the New Year's Eve concert for a number of years and that's basically it unless something comes up, like the 2019 125th Anniversary Concert.  Our members, they love playing and you know, a lot of these people have played forever. We have so many members and now a lot of younger people in their 30s and so not they're not all retirees.  And I’ve told young musicians in the past that when you learn an instrument it’s not like sports, it’s something you can do for your whole life.

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