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Ole Brook Wind Symphony prepares for first performance

Musical talent abounds in southwest Mississippi, and a group ofcommunity musicians are out to show that one never loses his lovefor music or playing his instrument.

“A real musician never sells his horn. An instrument becomes apart of you,” said Shaw Furlow, co-conductor of the newly-formedgroup.

The Ole Brook Wind Symphony, the brainchild of two Brookhavenresidents, has been meeting every Tuesday for the past few weeks totune up their horns and prepare for an upcoming performance.

After noticing that several nearby cities had community bands,Susan Jones and Patsy Warren came up with the idea to formsomething similar here. Now members of the steering committee forthe group, they are hoping the same excitement they have towardsthe endeavor will catch like wildfire and spread to anyone in thearea who plays an instrument.

“I think this is wonderful for the area and a great asset to thecommunity,” said Warren. “We’re hoping for big numbers so we canalways have a good group when we perform.”

Though attendance has been hindered by conflicts of summervacations and other activities so far, there have been between15-20 people at each practice.

Organizers are hoping numbers will pick up to between 30-40after school starts . . . just in time to prepare for the firstconcert.

“We’re looking at a mid-October concert,” said Jones.

The Ole Brook Wind Symphony is open to people of all ages whoplay anything from the clarinet to the tuba.

Warren said, “It’s not just for Lincoln County. We’ve got peoplehere from Franklin, Copiah and Lawrence County.”

Currently, the group includes some high school and collegestudents — many who will be returning to their campuses thisfall.

Students like Marie Fleming, who was recruited into the group,are using the meetings as a time to practice. Like most, she willbe going off to college this fall. However, conductors are hopingthat those students whose campuses are nearby will still find timeto be part of the group.

The majority of the ensemble members are area adults who are outof school. Some have had to brush the dust off theirinstruments.

“Several of these people haven’t played in years,” said StanleyStewart, co-conductor and retired Co-Lin band director. “It’s anoutlet for people who played in high school or college and don’thave any other place to play now.”

Many are playing as a sense of giving back to the community, butall who press their way to the practices are compelled by theirlove for music, organizers said.

“Since I retired, this seemed like it would be something fun todo,” Stewart said.

Having played in a community band in Jackson and served as itsconductor for two and a half years, Furlow, current Co-Lin banddirector, admits community ensembles are close to his heart.

“This has always been a passion of mine,” he said. “I’m a bigbeliever in community bands. I think once a student leaves highschool then college, he should be able to play in his communityband.”

Besides giving many an opportunity to play their instruments,the ensemble, once up and going, plans to perform for variouscommunity events and holidays.

Organizers say forming the band is also perfect timing for theopening of the Mississippi School of the Arts.

“I think this will eventually tie in with the arts school,” saidStewart.

The success of the group will depend on the players’ commitmentand the support the community gives the project, said theconductors.

“We get a little bit of a different crowd every time we meet,”said Stewart. “We want to make sure we keep the people that havebeen coming.”

Shaw added, “If the people in this community get behind this, itwill be beneficial to the community as well as the players.”

Anyone interested in learning more about the ensemble can callJones at 835-0471, Dr. George Edmonson at 833-7261 or Warren at833-1607.