In a semi-humid stuffy band room on a Thursday evening, instruments of all shapes and sizes and their human counterparts practiced measures of “Stars and Stripes Forever,” maintain their pitch throughout “America the Beautiful,” and counted their entrances in “Armed Forces Salute.” The group in question? The Southwest Civic Winds, directed by Rhonda Muckerman. You’re watching the Local News Network, brought to you by TBK Bank and the Payroll Department. I’m Wendy Graham Settle.
The Southwest Civic Winds is a community band that’s been around since the year 2012. It’s made up of musicians from all over the region of the Four Corners, extending all the way down to Bernalillo, Pagosa Springs, Cortez, Durango, Farmington. It’s a real community of musicians. We have lots of music educators in the group, lots of dedicated amateurs, professionals. It’s a great mix of 40 or so musicians.
Southwest Civic Winds is a wind band, meaning that it’s comprised of brass instruments like trumpets, tubas, and trombones, woodwind instruments like saxophones, flutes, and clarinets, and a percussion section. Much of the music performed by the group is wind band music which highlights the different sections and allows for all the different voices to showcase their strengths.
I really love concert band music. It is so different and refreshing as opposed to other classical forms of music that you might hear. It has this very wonderful earthy sound to it. It’s exciting. We have the full power of the brass section, the full woodwind section, and the percussionists are literally doing acrobatics in the back of the band. You should see them.
The group performs four times a year or four seasons. In preparation for each concert, the members meet once a week for three hours for the month or so leading up to the concert, rehearsing after their day jobs. Concerts happen in late November, February, April, and their 4th of July concert, which this year will be at the Rotary Park as part of the Rotary Park pancake breakfast festivities.
Well, it’s July 4th, so we have that wonderful mix of patriotic songs. We have a bit of jazz. We have, again, the film score. We’ve got “The Cowboys” by John Williams. We have one kind of more serious concert piece called “Elegy for a Young American,” which is a tribute to John F. Kennedy.
The band isn’t just for performing though: at the start and end of each rehearsal, band members will jump sections to catch up with each other. After rehearsal ends at 9:00 PM, some head to Applebee’s together because spending three hours practicing music builds up an appetite.
I feel like this group is really a community, and I think that’s really important. And we’re bringing a very high level of musicianship to our audiences here in the Durango area. Like I said, we have very dedicated players. We’re playing some serious repertoire, and I think it’s pretty… It’s a spectacular group in my estimation. Between that sense of community and intimacy in the group and those really high standards, and we’re having fun at the same time, it makes for a really great package.
Come see the band perform on Monday, July 4th at Rotary Park with the Durango Choral Society. The performance starts at 9:15 AM in the gazebo, but come earlier to enjoy a pancake breakfast put on by the Rotary Club of Durango. To learn more about the Southwest Civic Winds, view their concert schedule, or make a donation, visit SouthwestCivicWinds.org. Thanks for watching this edition of the Local News Network. I’m Wendy Graham Settle.