BG community band creates more than music

Aj Utendorf and Aj Utendorf

Even though it was their first meeting, the musicians assembled in the Bowling Green High School band room hushed to silence as their director, Nick Ezzone, stepped up to the podium. “We are making history,” he told them in his opening words.

A giddy excitement held over the night, beginning with the members signing in and greeting old friends.

Those assembling their instruments often called hello and waved happily to those coming in, whom they knew from other musical experiences. Ezzone greeted those he knew by name and those he was just meeting, all with a friendly shake of the hand.

The band, he said, is important to parents, teachers and students. He stressed that people pay money for music early in the learning stage: instrument, lessons and more.

Why put the horn away when school is over, Ezzone said.

He described the community band as an “extension of band,” a way for the whole community to keep playing their instruments no matter what the age.

So who plays in this band? Everyone is allowed.

Approximately 70 faces of all ages from all places made up the half-circles surrounding the director.

High school students, retired and current band directors, parents and community members all have interest in playing their instruments, no matter how long it’s been since they last played.

When Ezzone asked who hadn’t played their instrument in 30 years, a few members raised their hands.

Another man says he’s 80 years old, though all refuse to believe him. One trumpet player is still in high school.

Others are local band directors.

“When you’re teaching you don’t get to play as often,” said Heather Kramer, elementary band director and clarinet player. She claims to play little more these days than “Mary Had A Little Lamb.”

Other directors complain of never playing their instrument, but always playing other ones.

Music students from Bowling Green State University who are student teaching complained of the same problems. They joined the community band because they teach during the day and want the chance to play their instrument.

Others are graduates of Bowling Green High School who want to come back and play.

Then, there are the Univeristy professors.

L. Fleming Fallon, a professor of public health, has played percussion with various bands in the area. “This feels good,” he said, tuning the timpani.

Ezzone had few criticisms as they sped through their first piece, a march titled “Close to Freedom.”

They like to play music that is “challenging, but also interesting to the musician and the audience,” he said.

The Bowling Green Area Community Band is open to all with an instrument. Rehearsals meet Mondays at 7:15 p.m. in the Bowling Green High School band room. For more information, contact Nick Ezzone, (419) 352-1968 or [email protected]