Ashland Area Community Concert band rehearsals begin February 11

Carrie Smith

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The Ashland Area Community Concert Band (AACCB) will begin weekly rehearsals for the second half of its 2019-2020 season Feb. 11 from 7:30-9 p.m. in the Elizabeth Pastor Recital Hall.

AACCB has been around for 26 years and was established in 1993. It provides an opportunity for Ashland area community members as well as AU and area high school students alike to “continue their musical studies and creative activity” with other like-minded and musical individuals, according to the AU website.

Junior Tiffany Zeigler, who is also the AACCB librarian, said that the ensemble is “a lot more of a relaxed environment” compared to the other bands at AU and that it allows participants to “meet new people you probably would have never gotten to meet.”

The AACCB includes participants from various musical backgrounds and occupations, which Zeigler said has positively impacted her experience just one semester participating in the band.

“I think it’s definitely open my eyes a lot to how music can impact someone’s life,” Zeigler said. “There are a lot of music directors there obviously, but there are also principals and welders and factory workers…just a wide range of people who have day jobs and have their own lives but they still come because they want to.”

Hannah Wolf, AU alumni and band director at Crestview Middle and High School who also performs with the AACCB, said in an email interview that she joined the AACCB because of her roommate in college, and has continued the ensemble into her post-college career as a band director, which she said has had a positive effect on her day job and her students as well.

“Being able to play in this ensemble allows me each week to evaluate and reflect on my own teaching as I watch others direct and teach, along with keeping my chops up to be able to play for students at school while teaching,” Wolf said. “I hope that by playing in ensembles it also shows my students that music is a lifelong pursuit and even after school is over you can still have fun with playing music.”
Wolf also said that she was asked to conduct one of the pieces this semester, which is something she has never done but is “excited by the challenge it brings.”

Director of Bands Dr. Joe Lewis Jr., who began directing the AACCB last semester, said despite being “nervous” about taking over the direction of the band, having 60 people at the first rehearsal was what set in stone his confidence and excitement for the future of the ensemble.

“It was really cool to see all those people turn out, and to be honest not being somebody who has lived in this community for a really long time, taking over this ensemble was a bit of a nervous task for me just not knowing how I was going to be received, how the community would receive me, and to have a rehearsal where we had more people than last year that were in the band was really cool…to have all the community members there,” Lewis said. “We had a really great first concert and I look forward to many more years with them.”

The AACCB plays a variety of music from marches to movies/musical medleys each semester and said the ensemble generally plays more pop music in the spring semester, including arrangements from movie scores.

Although there is no required audition to join the ensemble, Lewis said participants should be able to play a wind or percussion instrument at least at a “high school level.”

AU students have the ability to register for the ensemble as a half credit aesthetics course a semester, however community members must pay $25 and high school students must pay $15 and have a recommendation from their high school director by the fourth rehearsal of the semester in order to continue membership with the ensemble.

If someone, whether a community member or student was thinking about joining the band and was unsure about it, Ziegler, Lewis, and Wolf all encourage anyone and everyone who enjoys music and wants to continue playing music to join the AACCB, with Wolf even saying that the group is “very encouraging to all members, especially new.”

In the second half of the 2019-2020 season, the AACCB will be performing twice, with the spring concert being held on May 3 at 7:30 p.m. in the Hugo Young Theatre and the Father’s Day concert being held on Sunday June 16 at 8 p.m. at Brookside Park. Both concerts are free and open to the public.

For those interested or looking for more information about joining the AACCB, they can contact Director of Bands Joe Lewis Jr. at [email protected] or at 419-289-5132, the Ashland University Box Office at 419-289-5125, or visit ashland.edu/music.

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