Finding that *Perfect* Community Band

I was born with music inside me. Music was one of my parts. Like my ribs, my kidneys, my liver, my heart. Like my blood. It was a force already within me when I arrived on the scene. It was a necessity for me – like food or water. ~ Ray Charles

DSCF1398In 2002, when I was returning to music after a 30-year hiatus, I used the Community Band and Orchestra Contact list to identify the many, many community bands in the Seattle and surrounding area.

Most of the community bands at the time had either no Web presence, or a limited Web page that basically gave you a phone number or e-mail to contact. I had no idea what the bands played and who they wanted to attract, let alone the audition requirements, if any.

So I picked the Woodinville band and jazz ensemble because it also had a jazz band. At the time it was directed by a phenomenal sax performer and former high school band director, Ray Guyll. When I called the membership phone number, Terri answered.

Hi, I’m thinking about joining a community band.

That’s great, what instrument do you play?

Sax. How do I audition?

Do you own an instrument?


Just show up for practice.

That year we did a very jazzy season finale concert with Greta Matassa and her combo, Eric Kloss saxophonist extraordinaire, and both the concert band and jazz ensemble at the Kirkland Performance Center. I purchased tickets for my extended family and friends. The concert was the best concert band concert I have ever been in yet and I even had a short solo in the beginning of ‘Blue Ridge Autumn’.


Here is an excellent sample of what this band has grown up to be under the direction of our current director, Leah:

Since I joined this band, I have made it a point to hear and/or sit in with a lot of the other local community bands. I have yet to find one that I enjoy as much as the WCB.  The Woodinville Community Band has musicians from Jr. High age to players in their 80s. There are all levels of accomplishment, but most sections have a music major or two to hold the section down and teach the newbies.

Selecting a community band and making the decision whether to return to music performance is fraught with lots of decisions to make. Do I take lessons to get back in shape? Can I devote the time necessary to do a good job? Would I be a valuable asset to the band? Whatever you do, consider supporting your local band with attendance and donations. They will really appreciate it.

About Gandalfe

Just an itinerant saxophonist trying to find life between the changes. I have retired from the Corps of Engineers and Microsoft. I am an admin on the Woodwind Forum, run the Seattle Solid GOLD Big Band (formerly the Microsoft Jumpin' Jive Orchestra) a GOLD sax quartet, and enjoy time with family and friends.
This entry was posted in Band, Community, FAQ, Guides, WCB and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Finding that *Perfect* Community Band

  1. Bertie says:

    The Woodinville Community Band is an excellent band. I attend every concert at the Redmond performance Center. They have an excellent director, and the music selections are varied but usually with a theme. Sometimes, like at Christmas, they allow audience participation with the singing of carols at the end. I am glad my son and his wife chose to return to their music, and to help bring joy to so many people.

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