Courthouse Community Band brings new life to old musical tradition
— The Courthouse Community Band will perform on the Main Stage at the 29th Annual Summerfest at 6:15 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20.
Under the direction of Tom Cheezum, Caroline native and band director for Colonel Richardson High School, the Courthouse Community Band is now in its second year and well on its way to building a tradition. The band boasts 48 members this summer, five more than in 2016, its first year in existence.
“Because I’m local this was always in the making for me, wanting something like this to happen. It’s exciting to bring to my hometown,” Cheezum said.
His dream was helped
along by another Caroline County Public Schools teacher, county resident and saxophone player, Rob Honer. Both men explained that they had summer community band experiences in other places. Honer in his hometown of Doylestown, Pa. and Cheezum in Salisbury.
Both of these musicians are involved in the Young Musicians Summer Academy which offers local middle and high school musicians a three day intensive clinic in late June. The idea for the Courthouse Community Band came from their time together on that project. They wanted to bring their community band experience here. However, they also think that the Courthouse Community Band is unique, particularly because it brings together musicians for a short rehearsal schedule and then one performance.
Cheezum said most summer community bands do not rehearse at all but just get the music a few days ahead of time and then come together to perform.
The Courthouse Community Band will have rehearsed a total of four times when they perform this weekend.
Honer said its unique because it brings together both adult musicians and high school students with four or five years of experience.
“It’s wonderful just to see all these people dusting off their instruments,” he said.
While drawing musicians from throughout the county and even beyond, among them are the talents of other Caroline County Public Schools band directors and music teachers as well. They have been rehearsing in the North Caroline High School band director Wayne Martin’s band room. Martin also plays the saxophone. They are joined by Lockerman Middle School’s band director E.J. Oesterle on percussion as well as several other local music teachers.
While some of the musical selections for the performance pay tribute to the circus theme of this year’s Summerfest, Cheezum shared that there’s a little bit for everyone, from traditional marches to movie scores from the Pirates of the Caribbean to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. “It’s very pops oriented,” he said. Both band founders are excited to play the Main Stage at the festival this year after being on the Courthouse Stage during their inaugural performance last year.
The Courthouse Community Band plays immediately before the U.S. Navy Sea Chanters.
Plans are already underway for the Band’s 2018 selections. Both the organizers for the 30th Anniversary of Summerfest and Honer and Cheezum are enthusiastic about the prospect of having the Courthouse Community Band playing the 1812 Overture for the lead into the traditional fireworks show.
The Courthouse Community Band practices for Caroline Summerfest.