There is nothing like a concert to bring people together, and like their name promises, the Rochester Community Band plans to do exactly that. They’ll give a free outdoor concert Thursday night at 125 Live.
The 60-member concert band includes teenagers and members in their 80s, said clarinetist and Board President Jill Wellik. One of her favorite things about playing with the band is the fellowship it creates among people from all walks of life.
Conductor Anthony Boldt (also the director of bands at Kasson-Mantorville High School) has chosen a variety of music for the concert, including pieces from up-and-coming composers like Kelijah Dunton’s “Stillwater” and those from established masters like “The Marches of John Williams.”
Boldt, a tuba player, first began playing with the band on the invitation of one of his colleagues.
“I had just started teaching, and was looking to be part of a group,” he said.
Little did he know that he’d meet his wife, Janna Carroll-Boldt, in the ensemble.
After playing in the group as part of the low brass section, he eventually became a co-conductor alongside Michael Mangan. Then, in 2017, he became the group’s sole conductor.
“It is so important in every community to have a wide range of options for individuals to continue to make and experience music,” Boldt said. “A community band lends itself to be a direct connection for individuals who played in their high school bands, college bands, or who are coming back to playing after many years.”
Wellik said it's important that the group is open to all skill levels and does not require an audition to join. In fact, new members can simply show up.
“We rehearse each Thursday night in Lourdes High School at 7 p.m.,” Boldt said. “Members are welcome to come any week [except for concert nights] and join.”
More information about the band can be found at www.rochestercommunityband.org.
Considering the no-audition policy, Boldt said he’s always pleasantly surprised that the group includes a good mix of instruments.
“I am blown away that instrumentation is almost always perfect,” he said. “I never understand how that happens, but without fail, we almost always have the perfect number of people and instruments show up.”
John Welhaven, a longtime fixture at Rochester’s former downtown music shop, Welhaven Music, proposed the community band to the Rochester Civic Music board in 1995. The group’s first concert was in May 1996, under the direction of Kent Jurgenson. It became an independent group in 2003.
While Wellik finds a lot of joy in the band, and has fun with their outdoor concerts, she said a challenge for the ensemble is finding affordable venues in which to perform.
“Rochester needs a bandshell,” she said.
“I highly recommend seeing and hearing as much live music and entertainment this summer as possible, and the Rochester Community Band is so excited to be back together and performing this summer,” Boldt said.
If you go
What: Rochester Community Band concert
When: 7 p.m. Thursday, July 29
Where: 125 Live Community Center, 125 Elton Hills Drive NW, Rochester