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Monday, Dec. 4, 2017

METROPOLITAN CONCERT BAND

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Musical group seeks new home

The music might be over for the Shreveport Metropolitan Concert Band. The oldest continually performing community band will be displaced at the beginning of 2018 if they can’t find a new place to hold rehearsals.

Kevin Wolfe, current president of the board of directors for the Shreveport Metropolitan Concert Band at LSUS, loves his job and would hate to see the band disperse. “I love working with the band to bring great music to the community through volunteer musicians,” Wolfe said.

A recent visit from the fire marshal determined the assembly use of the main room at LSUS prohibited, due to the current fire code. Unfortunately, the chancellor does not have another facility for the band to use on campus at this time.

“We must vacate our current rehearsal hall by Dec. 31, 2017,” Wolfe said. “We’re in desperate need of rehearsal space and a small office and music library.”

It would be sad to see it go. The Shreveport Metropolitan Concert Band was established in 1984 and consists of over 70 members, ranging in age from 23 to 80-plus.

“The band is from the community for the community,” Wolfe said. “It gives people from all walks of life an opportunity to rekindle or continue their instrument playing to benefit others and for the pure joy of playing music.”

Members are those such as Brooks Teeter, a local trauma nurse and a French horn player who has been with the band from its early days. Wolfe himself plays auxiliary percussion in the band. Other instruments include bass drum, cymbals, cow bell, wind chimes, triangle, tambourine, bike horn, brake drum, wood block, cabassa, shaker, sleigh bells and cork gun, French horns, trumpets, saxophones, trombones, clarinets, oboes, tubas, euphoniums and other percussion such as timpani, snare drum, xylophone, bells and chimes.

“We do have some pieces that require a vocalist, and she plays clarinet,” Wolfe said. “Our repertoire includes big band music, marches of all types, Broadway, movie music and pop music arranged for band such as that by the Beatles, Paul Simon and Elvis.”

Locals are welcome to audition for the band, as well. “We accept anyone who plays a band instrument at any time,” Wolfe said. “They can contact our director for a quick audition or come to one of our rehearsals.”

Rehearsals are currently being held from 7-9 p.m. every Monday night at the LSUS Community Outreach Building on Youree Drive. All that will change, however, if they can’t find another free space or the funds to rent one soon. The Shreveport Metropolitan Concert Band is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization and accepts donations, which are tax-deductible.

Joseph E. LeBlanc, music director and conductor for the Shreveport Metropolitan Concert Band, is emotionally invested in the band and hopes to be able to keep it alive.

“My favorite part of my job is being able to make music with a wide variety of people from all ages and walks of life,” LeBlanc said. “We offer a unique opportunity for community members to again experience the joy and happiness of playing their old band instrument, as well as offering the rest of the community an opportunity to attend a free live band concert.”

“We hope to make the community more aware of our performances and help make concert attendance a part of their regular activities,” LeBlanc said. “We’re a 501(c) non-profit organization, and we would most surely accept donations as a way to let us know that there is true appreciation of the musical product we offer – to both the players and the listeners.”

The Shreveport Metropolitan concert band had scheduled two concerts. The first was held at on Nov. 12 at the Shreveport Boys and Girls Club at 2821 Greenwood Road, honoring veterans after the Veterans’ Parade.

A second concert was held on Dec. 3 at LSUS University Center Theater. The performance will showcase music of the holidays to include a march, traditional Christmas carols, music from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” along with some unique Christmas band music.

Other upcoming concerts include a spring concert May 6 at the LSUS Theater and a Fourth of July celebration in Jefferson, Texas.

“You can listen to music on electronic devices or on the radio, but there is something about experiencing a 65-piece concert band live that just feels good,” Wolfe said.

To keep the music alive and for more information, contact https://www.smconcertband.com.

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