By Lauren Estes
The Cullman Times
More than 450 people packed Betty Leeth Haynes Theater Monday night to hear the Cullman Community Band’s Christmas concert performed for the first time in a new location.
The concert, which featured both well-know classic pieces and Christmas favorites, is typically held at the Cullman Civic Center but was moved to the college to provide extra seating. The group started nine years ago and has put on a Christmas concert annually. The band is multi-dimensional and ranging in age from 18 to 85, said conductor Garry Taylor.
“The members are from all walks of life and it’s a fun opportunity for us to make music,” Taylor said. “We have doctors, lawyers, retired band directors, teachers, recent graduates — many different professions in our group of musicians.”
Taylor felt this year’s Christmas concert challenged those of years past because of the music selection they elected for this set.
“We really stepped up a notch this year, there were some people in the audience who haven’t heard us before, so we chose tunes for those audiences,” Taylor said. “Our typical performance is Oktoberfest or outdoor festivals, but tonight we started off with more serious material and finished with the Christmas stuff. I really hope the audience enjoyed it.”
Cullman residents Robert and Debbie Sapp said they did in fact enjoy the music selection and had a great experience.
“We love coming here and listening to songs they play,” Robert said. “We always enjoy ourselves.”
The Cullman Community Band is a part of a six event concert series put on by the Cullman Community Concert Association. This particular event took canned food donations in lieu of admission, which will be donated to Cullman Caring For Kids food bank.
Band member and event coordinator Jackie Thrasher said the 60-70 member band enjoys what they do for community.
“We love to play and each year it’s something we look forward to doing,” Thrasher said. “We do other events too in the area, but we love the Christmas concert each year. I think people really enjoy the music selection and just come out and have a good time.”
Featured trumpet soloist and Hartselle High School band director Randall Key said the musicians involved in the band love what they do, and that is why people from so many different walks of life are strung together in one band.
“There’s the participation and strong tradition in bands in Cullman County and many still play instruments that they’ve been playing for years,” Key said. “That’s the thing about playing, it’s a life-long thing. It’s something that you can use forever.”
Lauren Estes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 256-734-2131, ext. 137.