Symphony in search of musicians

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Ole Brook Wind Symphony is growing steadily from practice topractice, but it still has plenty of chairs available for musiciansof all ages and musical mettle.

The community band, composed of volunteer musicians aged 15 to75 from Lincoln and surrounding counties, is looking to swell its25-member ranks with musicians playing any wind or percussioninstruments.

Assistant Director Dr. Jim Brewer said percussion, trumpets andFrench horns are particularly needed.

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There are no tryouts and no skill level to meet, he said, andthe band is also without fees or charges. Interested musiciansshould simply show up to the band’s Tuesday rehearsals at theAlexander Junior High School band hall at 7 p.m.

“Anyone that is interested in playing their instrument, revivingtheir instrument, can get it out of the attic like I did after 40years and start playing again,” Brewer said.

The symphony contains musicians who have only recently begunplaying after decades of hiatus, those who never put down theirinstruments after the organized bands of high school and collegeended and even a handful of high school students still perfectingthe craft.

Brewer said the band plays music that spans all genres, such asclassical pieces and Broadway tunes, and spans all skilllevels.

Weekly practices prepare the band for two concerts per year inthe spring and fall. The upcoming spring concert is tentativelyscheduled for April 19.

Brewer said some out-of-practice musicians are embarrassed aboutdigging their instruments out of storage and playing publiclyagain, but he said such fears are unfounded as far the Ole BrookWind Symphony is concerned. All the band’s members are welcomingand patient, and its directors work with their musicians.

“I know it’s intimidating, but if I can do it anyone can do it,”Brewer said. “We just have a real good time playing and gettingready for our concert.”

Chuck McMinn, Meadville Baptist Church’s minister of music andsix-year veteran clarinetist for the symphony, urged local dormantmusicians to join up and participate in what is, for him, a weeklystress reliever.

“Realize there’s a lot of others in the band the same way,” hesaid of nervous musicians. “Anyway, it comes back a lot faster thanyou think.”

Brookhaven High School’s Cherish Henderson is in only her thirdweek of playing with the symphony, but already the 15-year-oldclarinet player blends right in. She said she was intimated to joinat first, having never played with a group other than the BHS highschool band, but the symphony’s older members encouraged her.

“There’s nothing to be embarrassed about,” Henderson said. “Ifmusic is what you like to do, this is something you really need tobe a part of. This is a program everyone needs to know about.”

The symphony’s leaders are trying to do just that. Requests formembership have been sent out to local newspapers and radiostations, and the media campaign has already produced at least onenew member. For more information about the band, interestedmusicians may e-mail Brewer at