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Kingsport Community Band brings musicians together

Deborah Peterson • Sep 29, 2018 at 2:54 AM

Since 1907, local musicians have been making beautiful music together in the Kingsport Community Band. From high school students to retirees, the diverse group enjoys serving the community with their performances. Whether a seasoned player or a beginner, anyone who plays a band instrument is welcomed.

Wendy Lick of Kingsport had only owned her French horn for three days when she joined the band. “When I went to my first rehearsal with the Kingsport Community Band, I knew only five notes and kept getting two of those mixed up. But they still let me come back!” she laughed.

Wendy, who has been with the band since 2010, shares her insight on the close friendships formed within a band.

“Bands are like a family; everybody is in it together,” she said. “When you’re making music with other people, you’re making something really great.”

No one understands that better than Stephen and Sarah Arnold, who first met in the band two years ago. Stephen described the night that Sarah first came to band rehearsal. “Out of the blue, this beautiful blue-eyed brunette appeared one day and we hit it off,” Stephen recalled. The couple was married this past August and the Kingsport Community Band played at their wedding reception. Stephen and Sarah, both trumpet players, joined them in a few numbers. “We thank the band so much for making our special day even more special,” Stephen said.

The 25-member band holds several performances throughout the year at events such as the Kingsport Fourth of July Parade, The Exchange Place Fall Folk Festival in September and Spring Garden Fair in April, and at retirement communities such as Asbury Place and Preston Place Suites. Their music varies from classic concert marches to Broadway standards and familiar band repertoire.

Scot Fleming of Kingsport has been the band director since 1991. He is also the band director at Gate City Middle School and the assistant band director at Gate City High School. While he enjoys his job, Scot finds the Kingsport Community Band to be a fun change of pace. “The community band has been a very good stress reliever for me because I do music all day; so it’s nice to stand up in front of a band of people that already know how to play. I really get to enjoy music,” he said.

The Kingsport Community Band rehearses every Thursday in the Dobyns-Bennett High School orchestra classroom from 7:30 to 9 p.m. New members are welcome any time and there are no age limits. The band is currently in need of a percussionist, but could always use more of all the instruments. Also needed are a sponsor for the Fourth of July parade float and more opportunities for the band to play in the community.

“I would love to be able to perform for a lot more community-oriented events since we are the Kingsport Community Band,” Scot said. “We would like for Kingsport to know that we’re here to promote our town.”

The next opportunity to see the Kingsport Community Band will be on September 29 at 10 a.m. at the Exchange Place Fall Folk Arts Festival. For more information on joining the band or scheduling a performance, check out the website at http://kingsportband.wixsite.com/kcband or email kingsportband@gmail.com.

The Kingsport Community Band encourages past, present or future band instrument players to join them. “Come and give us a try and see what you think. We have a great time,” Scot said.