The Sumter Community Concert Band doesn't begin its 2018-19 performance season until Oct. 7, but rehearsals start Thursday, and spokesman Rick Mitchum said musicians with experience in high school or other bands are invited to join the band at its …
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The Sumter Community Concert Band doesn't begin its 2018-19 performance season until Oct. 7, but rehearsals start Thursday, and spokesman Rick Mitchum said musicians with experience in high school or other bands are invited to join the band at its first meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. in the band room at Patriot Hall.
"There's no audition," Mitchum said. "They just have to have experience and ability to read music and be at least 18 years old. It doesn't matter if they haven't played in a while."
He said anyone who meets those criteria can simply bring his or her instrument and come to rehearsal. The band even has some of the larger instruments to loan to new members, including a tuba, French horn, bassoon and trombone.
"We need people in all sections," Mitchum said, "especially percussion, and we always need clarinets."
The band, which now numbers in the 40s, noted an increase in attendance during the 2017-18 season, he said.
"We'd like to see even more attend our concerts," he said.
Mitchum, who plays trumpet, is a charter member of the band that started in 1982 with Mark Fisher as its first director. Its debut concert was presented at the Sumter Opera House on Nov. 14 of that year. Since then, seven conductors have led the SCCB in four or five concerts each season. The band's home is now at Patriot Hall, where most of its performances are presented.
SCCB musicians come from Sumter, Shaw Air Force Base and various locations in surrounding counties, and the membership itself is diverse, Mitchum said. Among the members are teachers, doctors, farmers, retirees, students, lawyers and others.
James H. "Jimmy" Mills has been the band's conductor since 2004. An Edmunds (Sumter) High School and University of South Carolina graduate with a Master's Degree in Music Education, Mills has extensive experience as director of bands for Chapin middle and high school. His bands received numerous prestigious awards, including two state championships for marching bands and accolades for his symphonic bands, both in the U.S. and abroad.
With memberships including the National Association for Music Education, the S.C. Band Directors Association and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Mills is listed in Who's Who Among American Educators and Who's Who in America. He has been honored with the National Band Association's Citation of Excellence and the Sertoma Service to Mankind Award.
Assistant Conductor Joni Mabry Brown was on the founding committee for the SCCB in 1982. She holds a Master's Degree in Music Education from the University of South Carolina. Brown taught at Bates Middle School for almost 30 years, winning many awards with the band, as well as being selected Bates Teacher of the Year and Sumter School District 17 Teacher of the Year.
Other prestigious awards Brown has received include the Scroll of Excellence Award from the Women Band Directors International Association, Phi Beta Mu's Outstanding Bandmaster Award and the Citation of Excellence from the National Band Association. She was inducted into the S.C. Band Directors Hall of Fame and currently performs with the Palmetto Concert Band and the Sumter Community Concert Band.
Brown is director of music ministry at Sumter's First Presbyterian Church.
Current and prospective members of the SCCB are invited to the 7 p.m. Aug. 23 rehearsal in the band room at Patriot Hall, 135 Haynsworth St. Dues are $15 a year to help to purchase new music for the band.
For more information about the SCCB, visit the website www.sumterband.org or the Sumter Community Concert Band Facebook page. Contact Rick Mitchum at (803) 775-9265.
2018-19 Concert Schedule
- 3 p.m. Oct. 7
- 7 p.m. Dec.2
- 3 p.m. March 3, 2019
- 3 p.m. May 12
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