VALRICO – The Eastern Hillsborough Community Band will play at 7 p.m. Sept. 26 at the Strawberry Ridge Clubhouse, 3419 E. State Road 60. The public is invited to the general-seating show. A suggested $5 donation will be accepted at the door.
The band, led by Kenneth Watts of Brandon, will perform marches and patriotic, jazz and pop numbers, including “But Not for Me,” “The Pink Panther Theme” and “Finlandia.”
In a community band, “you’ve got a wide range of experience,” Watts said. “We’ve got the people who played in high school, hung up their instrument and are coming back to it. We also have some who are professional, working musicians and everything in between.”
“Part of my job is to play to their strengths,” he said. “Part of what I do is coaching and helping folks produce a better sound.”
He looks for “balanced sound, intonation, articulation and precision – both vertical and horizontal. Vertical precision is making sure notes are attacked and released at the same time. Horizontal precision is how folks interpret a melodic line.”
Watts recently attended a six-week Conductors Institute at the Bard College Conservatory of Music. It was transformative, he said. He came back a new conductor.
“One of the big deals of conducting is for the conductor to look like the music and at the same time, not be distracting,” said Watts.
“Conducting patterns we use today were developed in 1701, before the time of Mozart’s daddy’s birth,” he said. His instructors at the institute, Harold Farberman and Alexander Farkas, want “to turn conducting into looking more like conducting music, and less like being a human metronome.”
He said as he learns what the band members need, “They are learning to be more responsible for keeping their own internal metronome going and looking for other kinds of information from me. The end goal, then, is for the band to play even more musically [and] change the life of the concert-goer. We want the audience to leave with the feeling that their time and money were well spent.”
Send stories of community interest to Barbara Routen at [email protected]