Court­house Com­mu­nity Band brings new life to old mu­si­cal tra­di­tion

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— 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.

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