Ser­vices & Pro­fes­sion­als

Cel­e­brat­ing 132 years of con­sec­u­tive con­cert sea­sons

Bonita & Estero Magazine - - CON­TENTS - —J.Y

Nor­man Jones, pres­i­dent and em­cee of Lee County Com­mu­nity Band since 1980, likes to tell the story of how lo­cal mu­si­cians formed a com­mu­nity band one year be­fore Fort My­ers even be­came an of­fi­cial city. That was in 1885.

“A young man de­cided that the town needed a town band, so he con­vinced the 340 res­i­dents at that time to pur­chase 14 in­stru­ments,” Jones ex­plains. “One of the pa­trons of­fered the fledg­ling band her liv­ing room for re­hearsals, but the noise was too much for the lo­cal neigh­bor­hood to bear. The band was then moved out on a long pier in the mid­dle of the Caloosa­hatchee River for prac­tice.”

Jones de­scribes the new band’s prac­tice lo­ca­tion as the place and time where the mu­sic fi­nally started. Be­cause soon af­ter that, the Semi­nole Lodge in­vited the band to per­form for Mina and Thomas Edi­son. And the rest, as they say, is his­tory—all 132 con­sec­u­tive years of it.

Made up of mu­si­cians from all walks of life, both pro­fes­sional and ama­teur, the band’s mis­sion is to en­ter­tain the lo­cal com­mu­nity and to honor its long, iconic legacy. Richard Brad­street has been a mem­ber since 1979 and is the cur­rent direc­tor. He notes, “We strive to con­tinue the tra­di­tion of play­ing good band mu­sic that is en­joy­able for our au­di­ences as well as en­joy­able for our mu­si­cians to play. We try to play a wide va­ri­ety of mu­sic and we work each year to be­come the best band we can pos­si­bly be.”

Su­san Ray­man is in charge of band pro­grams and pub­lic­ity. She un­der­stands that team­work keeps the band mov­ing in the right di­rec­tion: “It’s grat­i­fy­ing to work with other band mem­bers to pro­duce a great sound that our au­di­ence truly ap­pre­ci­ates. Our suc­cess comes from hav­ing a tal­ented direc­tor, a ter­rific em­cee and ca­pa­ble mu­si­cians who work well to­gether.”

Lee County Com­mu­nity Band ap­pre­ci­ates the com­mu­nity’s loyal and gen­er­ous sup­port. Con­certs are free and do­na­tions are wel­come. In­for­ma­tion is avail­able at leecoun­ty­

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