We are called the Auburn Community Band, however, we have members from not only Auburn but from Angola, Avilla, Butler, Churubusco, Columbia City, Fort Wayne, Fremont, Garrett, Huntertown, Pleasant Lake, St. Joe, and Speedway in Indiana. We also have members from Payne, OH
If you are interested in playing with the band, we rehearse every Thursday night from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the DeKalb Middle School during the year and at the First United Methodist Church on E. 7th Street during the summer. There are no try-outs or dues. The only requirement is that you love to play music. So contact any member of the band or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org for any information or answers to your questions. We would love to have you as a part or our group!
The Auburn Community Band had its first rehearsal on May 20, 1982. At that time there were many musicians who had not played for a number of years. This was not a deterrent for any of them as they had a great love for music and were determined to play. The band did a total of three concerts that year. Now, thirty-one years later, the band does between fifteen and eighteen concerts a year and it is estimated that they have played approximately 425 concerts over its lifetime.
The concert locations have varied over the many years. The band has played at the beautiful Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum, at various parks, nursing homes, senior citizen facilities, Foellinger Theatre in Fort Wayne, Sauder Village in Archbold, Ohio, and various locations throughout Northeast Indiana, Ohio and Michigan. For the band’s twenty-fifth anniversary year, they took a tour of Indiana and played four concerts at various locations around the state, including the Paramount Theatre in Anderson.
In 2003, the Auburn Community Band performed in Washington, DC as the representative of the state of Indiana in the Festival of States. They performed three concerts in the DC area including two at retirement homes and one in front of the Lincoln Memorial. A highlight of the trip was when the band went to the Congressional Cemetery and found the gravesite of John Philip Sousa. In 2009, the Auburn Community band returned to DC to perform at the Sousa Festival.
The band takes great pride in interfacing with other community bands in the area. They have done joint concerts where they will perform as a combined band in Auburn and then go to the home location of the other band. They have done concerts with bands in Indiana, Ohio and Michigan.
A venture that is very rewarding for the band is the annual Community Band Extravaganza. This is held on a Sunday in August each year and as many as six community bands are put together in a mass band forum. There are typically 150 to 175 musicians in this mass band, which is held at the DeKalb Outdoor Theater in Auburn. In 2008 the band opened Auburn’s new outdoor stage and made it their permanent home. This facility is in a beautiful wooded area in Auburn and has a 40’x60’ stage for a variety of performance mediums.
One of the areas that the band advertises is the fact that they have many middle and high school musicians in the group. They have had some musicians who were as young as eleven or twelve in the band and they stay with the band throughout their high school days and come back in the summer from college to play with the band. It is amazing to see some of these young people performing to a level they never knew they could reach simply because they are sitting next to a player who has been playing for thirty or forty years and getting help from that player.
The achievement of still performing after thirty-one years is one that the band is very proud of. Especially since the average lifetime for a community band in the United States is five to seven years. The band credits its longevity to two factors. First, the people of Auburn and the surrounding area who provide excellent support to the band. Second, the musicians in the band are committed to providing excellent music and are dedicated to the band (There are still three original members from the first night and twelve members who were there the first year). With support and dedication like this, the band expects to be around playing music for many more years.
Donald A. Riley is the new Director for the Auburn Community Band. Don is a native of Waterford, Michigan where in High School he was the Drum Major for the "WTHS Skippers" which coincidentally is his nick name, "Skipper" or "Skip". Don has been Band Director for three small schools in his time, the last of which was Auburn's own "Lakewood Park Christian School". He has played clarinet in the Marion Philharmonic Orchestra and Elkhart Symphony and is presently a drummer for "Fairview Missionary Church" in Angola.
Before taking a sabbatical from ACB to coordinate the "Crossing" in Butler, Don played alto saxophone and other instruments as a utility musician in the band. "I'm back for good" he says as he takes the baton for the summer season and for what he hopes will be a long season ahead. "It is an honor to serve as Auburn's Director following the late honorable Dick Norris and Kim Randinelli who will be missed but was forced to retire from ACB to attend to her health."
Looking ahead, Don has some new ideas and new venue goals for the band. Don's former pastor labeled him "An Upgrade Monster!" a title Don will be careful to balance with the foundational goals and principles upon which the ACB was originally formulated. One of those foundational goals is to provide a strong Band for instrumentalists who have an instrument in their closet and a talent in their heart that is waiting to be re-ignited! With that in mind, come join us as we develop into a state and then a nationally known community band! There is life after High School and College for Wind and Percussion instrumentalists and the Auburn Community Band is your next great expression!
We rehearse in the DeKalb Middle School Band Room Thursday evenings from 7 till 9 and are excited with the new growth we have seen already and with the prospect of new members like you! Just give it a try, almost all of us have had to re-develop our talent after not playing for a time, this band enjoys being a part of your new musicianship, fear not!
The band is also blessed to have Angela Bassett as our Assistant Director.
Mary Anna Feitler
- Tom Laverghetta - President
- Betsy Tracy - Secretary
- Mary Anna Feitler - Treasurer
- Don Riley - Director
- Angela Bassett - Asst. Director
- Carol Hathaway - Board Member
- Dale Wagner - Board Member
- Barb Hoff - Board Member
- Dan Emrich - Board Member
- Samantha Baumgardner - Board Member