PIQUA — For those who do not have the financial means to enjoy a professional music concert, the Tippecanoe Community Band has brought that experience to residents for 35 years without taking a penny.
In celebration of its founding, the Tippecanoe Community Band will be performing at the Hance Pavilion at Fountain Park in Piqua on Sunday, Sept. 20 at 3 p.m. and, needless to say, the concert will be free of charge.
The performance will include music from 1930-1990, compositions such as Benny Goodman’s swing tunes, The Association, Tijuana Brass, The Blues Brothers’ “Revue,” and John Williams’ movie themes from “Star Wars,” “Jaws,” and “E.T.”
There will be 12 band members from Piqua performing. Founder and band director Gail Ahmed will lead the overall performance. Band member Dan Beaver, of Piqua, will lead a medley from “The Sound of Music.” Beaver was a student conductor at Piqua High School from 1965-66 and conducted the piece his senior year, 49 years ago.
“The band conductor asked me to do the piece and I said, ‘Well, why not?’” Beaver said. He also stated the performance of the medley will be done in the same arrangement as when he was a senior at PHS.
In addition to conducting, he was also a drum major his senior year. For the community band, he is a tuba player. Conducting “The Sound of Music” medley is only a special occasion.
Beaver gave praise to Ahmed’s performance and dedication to the band.
“Gail is absolutely a great director because she does a lot of lead teaching to these people and gets them back on their feet to play well … and does a very good job selecting music for the concerts,” he said. “I can’t imagine anyone that’s (conducted a community band) that long … that’s a long time.”
What got Beaver to join the community band?
“I wanted to start playing my horn again,” Beaver said. “The only time I got to play was when alumni met. I wanted something more.”
Beaver has been a member for four years and wishes the time was longer.
“I wish I was with (the band) sooner, because it’s a real neat organization,” Beaver said. “We play for the fun of it, and I really enjoy that.”
Beaver said the concerts average 50 band members from Piqua, Dayton, Englewood, Tipp City, and Troy, with members as young as 16 and as old as 89.
The variety of ages benefits the group.
“They learn from each other and enjoy being together,” Beaver said. “These kids come to play, they really enjoy us old people. It’s a good experience for them and good for us to have them there. They’re good, too (at playing instruments); we’re kind of following their lead a little. There’s a good relationship between them and the older people, and that’s a good thing these days.”
“For many of us, music and the band is our ‘other life,’” clarinetist and band publicist Cyndy Shreffler said in an email. “We love rehearsing, playing, and getting to know other people who have ‘kept up their skills’ as adults.”
The band performs throughout the year, playing in downtown Tipp City at the Tipp City Mum Festival, school reunions, Christmas and winter festivals, and for residents in assisted living centers.
For more information about the band, contact (937) 335-1178 or visit the band’s website at http://tippcitycommunityband.weebly.com.
Reach Amy Barger at (937) 451-3340 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall.