|The Cottonwood Community Band began in 1990 as an eight-piece group eager to share its love of music. More than 20 years later, the now 40-plus-member band is preparing to make its first performance in Camp Verde at the Spring Heritage Pecan & Wine Festival on March 29.|
|Spring Heritage Festival|
|The Camp Verde Spring Heritage Pecan & Wine Festival on March 29-30 includes a pecan & wine festival, the Verde River Runoff and the Verde Valley Archaeology Fair. Visit the local website online at visitcampverde.com|
CAMP VERDE - Five years ago, Sy and Anita Brandon left Pennsylvania for the Verde Valley.
They joined the Cottonwood Community Band "almost immediately," recalls Sy, a tuba player.
The Cottonwood Community Band began in 1990 as an eight-piece group eager to share its love of music. More than 20 years later, the now 40-plus-member band is preparing to make its first performance in Camp Verde. Sy says playing in Camp Verde is "the next step to reaching out to the whole Verde Valley."
The Cottonwood Community Band will perform at the ramada during the Spring Heritage Pecan & Wine Festival on March 29. Conductor Will Norris, who joined the band in January 2013, says he is pleased the band will be performing at the festival.
"I think this is a great chance for the band to extend its outreach to the communities in the Verde Valley and to let the audience hear some good quality and entertaining concert band music," Norris says. "Events like this one are a good way to let our audiences know that we represent all of them and have members from all of the communities in the Verde Valley. Several members of the band are long-time residents of Camp Verde."
Camp Verde resident Ron Wright is one of the original members of the band. Wright, who plays the trumpet, says it is "a pleasure to be a part of a fine musical organization, and to produce music that can be enjoyed by audiences of all ages and backgrounds."
Wright also says that the band does not require auditions for someone to become a member.
"When the band first formed, the recommendation to join was to be 'rusty, but reasonable,'" Wright says. "Over the years though, we have welcomed all folks, regardless of their experience and ability. The band has been fortunate to have many well-experienced musicians as part of our membership. These folks have been very helpful to those with less ability, to enjoy being part of a fine musical group. We have had a few members of the band who, besides their instrumental talents, have also composed original works for the band to play."
Nancy Kores started playing the baritone horn in high school in the late 1950s, but quit when she graduated.
"There were no community bands at that time and I wasn't interested in playing in college," says Kores, a member of the band. "I started playing again about 20 years ago after my dentist (Ron Wright) kept badgering me every time I saw him. We had played together in the Scottsdale High School band."
Alto saxophone player Bob Zimmerli, a resident of Camp Verde, has been with the Cottonwood Community Band for close to 10 years. Zimmerli, who studied music at Hofstra University in New York, says he's "excited about [playing in Camp Verde]. We're looking forward to this concert."
Some of the songs that the Cottonwood Community Band plans to play at the festival are (Get Your Kicks On) Route 66, Semper Fidelis, Georgia On My Mind and Eye of the Tiger. Anita Brandon, oboist for the band, says, "It's a wonderful variety of songs."
Before relocating to the Verde Valley, the Brandons had played in various symphonies, including the York Symphony Orchestra. Anita says, "it's going to be nice to be able to bring our music to Camp Verde."
Says Kores, "We have been playing concerts in Cottonwood and Sedona for years, and it's about time we are playing in Camp Verde."
At 2 p.m. on March 29, the Cottonwood Community Band will perform at the ramada during the Spring Heritage Pecan & Wine Festival. For more information about Spring Heritage Pecan & Wine Festival activities and entertainment, go to: http://visitcampverde.com, www.campverdepromotions.org or www.summerplacepecanfarm.com.
-- Follow Bill Helm on Twitter @BillHelm42 and Instagram @VerdeValleyNews