SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – No matter your age, what instrument you play, or how often you practice, this group of musicians welcomes anyone to their ensemble.
It’s called the USF Community Band.
“We worked with our administration and put out a survey to some of our alumni and what was interesting was I gave copies of the survey to some folks in the community and it kind of grew from there, so next thing we knew it was less folks from USF and more just the folks in the community,” Director of Instrumental Music at USF, USF Community Band Director, Jonathan Neiderhiser said.
The group started rehearsing back in September, and now have more than 50 members.
“It kind of kept growing and growing, so we were excited, more than 50 was a lot more than we thought,” Neiderhiser said. “It really ended up being very well balanced, a lot of low brass which is great, it kind of makes for a big sound which we appreciate, but if there’s anybody who’s watching that is a horn player, we could use some more of those, there’s always room for more folks.”
Kayla Tronvold and Morgan Van Holland are both graduates of USF. They say this is giving them the opportunity to perform once again.
“It’s been really good, I hadn’t touched a saxophone since I graduated over nine years ago so it’s been good to get back in and playing that instrument, it’s been really fun to meet the people who are in the band, I sit next to a teenager and then somebody who is older than me and so being able to make those connections in the community,” band member, Kayla Tronvold said.
“After you graduate you lose touch and struggle with finding ensembles to play with so this was a great opportunity for me to get back into playing again and keeping up on those skills,” band member, Morgan Van Holland said.
Rehearsal is something Ray Johnsen looks forward to every week.
“When I retired I decided I wanted to play again so I picked the trombone up and since five or six years ago I’ve been trying to get my lip back in shape,” band member, Ray Johnsen said. “I really enjoy playing with college students and retired people and alumni and it’s a lot of fun and I really like all the kinds of music.”
And it really is a wide variety of music the band plays.
“The first song I conducted, I got to the end and thought it sounded perfect and it was amazing,” Neiderhiser said. “The next week I thought I could try some more tricky music, so finding the balance has been fun, kind of been doing some stretch stuff and stuff that’s a little easier.”
“Some of the songs we are playing, ‘Just a Closer Walk with Thee,’ which is kind of a Canadian brass arrangement, we are also playing Hobbits Theme, and also themes from Gandolf, so Lord of the Rings style, also we are playing ‘Salvation is Created,’ some slower movements, a hymn song, so it’s kind of all over the place,” Van Holland said.
The community band not only allows this group to make music, but also build relationships with others involved.
“This group is something that brings a bunch of people together that have no other common denominator and so it’s been a really fun time getting to know the other band members,” Tronvold said.
This is a collaboration between USF and Augustana. The USF community band rehearses in the fall, while Augie’s band rehearses in the spring.
The USF community band will also have two performances: November 21st and December 5th.