Community band is great


Speakout

I am very grateful for the Brookings Area Community Band and to all the talented musicians who volunteer their time to enrich our community every summer. 

If you’re not yet a regular attendee of the free summer concerts at Pioneer Park, let me tell you a bit about what you’re missing.

First of all, the beautiful themed performances by talented musicians from several generations, conducted by director David Reynolds and assistant director Don Crowe.

I believe that our son was the youngest member of the band last year after his sixth-grade year in school. This year, there may be a couple of kids who are even younger than he. The oldest members of the band are in their 70s and even 80s. What a magical way for community members to come together in a multi-generational mix. The more experienced musicians model a wonderful spirit of volunteerism and patriotism for the younger folks, and I’m grateful that our son enjoys participating in the tuba section.

The music itself spans generations, as well. You’ll hear some of the old classics, as well as popular tunes from modern children’s movies, and everything in between! Each summer, there are patriotic marches and timeless favorites about the founding of our nation. Last week’s lengthiest arrangement entitled “Testimonials to Liberty” by James D. Ployhar stirred up all the feels, as they say, not only for the audience, but also for narrator, Don Crowe. The band’s dramatic performance featured spoken words from some of the stirring moments in United States history. The finale brought audience members to their feet, and those who know me well would not be surprised to hear that I felt like I had something in my eyes and stuck in my throat. (Why do I never remember to bring tissues with me?!)

Afraid that you’ll get eaten up by bugs at the park? No worries. 

I happen to be a favorite snack for local mosquitoes, but I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen the pesky buggers during the community band performances. I don’t know what those awesome folks from the City of Brookings parks and streets departments do, but it’s as if the mosquitoes know that they are not invited to the concerts. Instead, you’ll be delighted with the butterflies that dance overhead and repeatedly land on the hats or lawn chairs of the spectators.

Need a snack while you listen to the band? The snack brigade has you covered!

Each week, you can enjoy a tasty treat while you’re tapping your toes. From watermelon and cotton candy, to popcorn and SDSU ice cream, you don’t need to worry about going hungry, that’s for sure!

Each week, Dr. Reynolds sprinkles in a little something for everyone ... not just in the music, but in the activities of the evening. The Children’s March is always a hit. Band member and Energy Queen Kathy Larsen weaves through the crowd, followed by a line of young tykes, enthusiastically marching to the beat and wearing retired band hats from the SDSU Pride.  So fun to watch those kiddos from year to year.

Additionally, there is a time each week where Dr. Reynolds invites visitors to Brookings up front to introduce themselves, tell the crowd where they hail from, and mention who they are visiting or what brings them to Brookings. Each visitor who bravely steps forward is rewarded with a gift bag of local goodies and a round of applause from the crowd. This opportunity isn’t limited just to visitors; anyone with a special birthday or anniversary is also invited up front. It’s a lovely way to welcome visitors and to feel the “community” of Brookings for young and old.

What about rain, you ask?  

Never fear ... the standard Plan B for this event is to move the entire bunch out to the beautiful SDSU Performing Arts Center. I’d call that the best Plan B around.  

How fortunate are we to enjoy the Brookings Area Community Band each summer. Thank you to the musicians, the Reynolds family and other leadership, the behind-the-scenes volunteers, and to the City of Brookings, SDSU’s PAC, and especially to all the individuals and businesses who make financial donations to support this great band every year. I encourage everyone to get out to enjoy the remaining performances of this summer – their schedule can be found in the Events section of their Facebook page.

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