Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Music!

Last night, Dick and I headed over to the Veteran’s Building for a Christmas concert. “Deck the Halls. . . fa la la la la. . .” Yep. We got to sing a bunch of first verses worth of Christmas carols with the Watsonville Community Band, the members all decked in their green and gold uniforms. It’s nice to know that there is an outlet for once-upon-a-time high school band members. One of the trumpet players was my seventh grade music appreciation teacher, who continues to teach and lead middle school musicians into one amazing marching band year after year.

“We are the Watsonville Community Band,” announced Eugene Smith, the condu
ctor, at the beginning of the night. “But we are not a Watsonville band.” The members hale from various cities in Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Benito counties, including Watsonville, Salinas, Ben Lomond, Gilroy, and Hollister.

The Watsonville Community Band is one of the few adult community bands in the nation. It has been around since 1947! According to the Christmas program, anyone who plays (or played) a band instrument is welcome to join. The band performs yearly concerts, such as its Christmas Concert series, as well as participates in marching parades. Their performances are always free.

At last night’s concert, the band performed a selection of pieces, from an Andy Williams song, “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” to the quietly moving “Ave Maria.” They also played the “March of the Women Marines,” which was composed in 1943 for the Women Reserve band. That piece was a head bouncer and toe tapper, but the coolest thing about it is the fact that one of the members of the band was part of the original Women Reserve band.

The “Night Before Christmas” was read by the conductor, surrounded by many of the tiny
children in the audience. Snap. Flash. Snap. Flash. Snap. Yep, the sound and blur of a photo op for parents and grandparents who smilingly crept up to candidly catch their kiddies. For the last piece, the audience stood and sang joyously loud (OK maybe some of us) with the band, after which Santa Claus popped out to give the kids candy cane sticks.

The concert was an hour long, and for an hour, I felt a sense of the warmth of small-town community. The Watsonville Community Band will be back to put on a spring concert for the town. I’m looking forward to it.

In the mean while, here are still a few more Christmas concerts in the co
unty to check out:
Christmas singing cheer can also be found at these events:

Christmas 2008
Hwy 25, Hollister, California

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