The Raleigh Concert Band at the Raleigh Little Theater Rose Garden (click image to zoom)
The Raleigh Concert Band is a non-profit organization that provides adult musicians an opportunity to perform music in formal concert venues as well as for community events. For its many years of performances at events such as the Fourth of July celebration and the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on the grounds of North Carolina's historic Capitol building, the band received the honorary title of "The State Capitol Band." Organized in August 1978, the group was previously known as the Raleigh City Band and the Raleigh Community Band. From a beginning roster of about 30 musicians, the band has grown to its current size of over 70 volunteer brass, woodwind, and percussion players. Band members come from a variety of backgrounds and professions, including retirees, students, teachers, doctors, engineers, and computer programmers. While some members have a formal background in music, most simply enjoy playing an instrument and performing for an audience.
Recently, one of our band members was quoted as saying "We're a concert band that plays formal concerts and community events. We've been around for more than 30 years and we do all this because we love it."
The band library has a wide repertoire including: classical arrangements, ragtime, show tunes, marches, music for children, and much more. The music chosen for each concert is tailored to the audience.
Lem Hardy is a native of South River, N.C. He has taught high school band in North Carolina for six years. His bands have won myriad competitions and accolades. They were the featured band in the Midwest Clinic Presentation entitled Excellence In Small Bands and performed for State Superintendent June Atkinson.
Mr. Hardy received a Master of Arts in Teaching with Music Emphasis, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Bachelor's of Music in Saxophone Performance. While at Chapel Hill he performed with the UNC Saxophone Quartet, and participated in the 2004 Cours International de Musique in Morges, Switzerland.
He has served as the North Carolina President for the Collegiate Music Educator's National Conference and completed two Undergraduate Research Symposium Projects: "Enhancing Sight-reading Techniques" (2004) "Wagnerian Practices in Modern Film Music" (2005). and published an article for the North Carolina Music Educator's Journal article entitled "The State of C-MENC" (2006).
The history of community bands in Raleigh goes all the way back to the year 1812, when a group called the Musical Amateurs was organized. There was also a Raleigh City Band organized in 1850. According to newspapers accounts, the City Band delighted audiences with the remarkable musical progress that they made in a short time. A bit more recently, in the 1920s the Raleigh Auction Company sponsored a band consisting of 6 to 10 musicians who played as a warm up to the company’s auction sales.
The first group to be known as the Raleigh Municipal Band was organized by Sam Beaxton in 1935 at his music store on Martin Street in downtown Raleigh. The band also rehearsed at Herbert Gupton’s music store, upstairs at the Briggs Hardware Store, and at Hugh Morrison High School. The Raleigh Municipal Band ceased operation in 1942 at the beginning of World War II and re-organized in 1948 with Dr. Thomas A. Martin, a Raleigh ophthalmologist, as the director. In 1949, with Angelo Caparrillo as director, the band once more rehearsed at Hugh Morrison High School. Dr. Millard Burt was the director during the 1950s, and the band rehearsed at the Armory on the NCSU campus and later above the bathhouse at Pullen Park, where they also played concerts. In 1960, a Wake County bond issue was voted on to provide funding for the arts in Wake County. Part of the funds would have been earmarked for the Raleigh Municipal Band, but the bond was defeated and the band ceased to function shortly thereafter.
1978 - 1981
Conductor: Dick Southwick
Dr. Leon Jordan, a professor of musical engineering at North Carolina State University, was a member of the Raleigh Municipal Band, which had disbanded in the 1960s. In the summer of 1978, he was on the faculty of the national brass music camp held at Elon College. The camp’s chairman, Dr. Renold Schilke, a famous trumpet player and brass instrument manufacturer, addressed the need for community concert bands in America. Dr. Jordan was moved to re-organize a community band in Raleigh. He contacted school band directors and members of other musical organizations. The new Raleigh City Band held its first rehearsal in August 1978, with Dr. Jordan filling in as director for the first few rehearsals and supplying music from his own personal collection.
At Dr. Jordan's request, Dick Southwick became the first conductor for the group. Rehearsals were held at Jaycees Park because the Raleigh Parks and Recreation Department served as the band’s sponsor. The Raleigh City Band’s first concert was held at Pullen Park on October 22, 1978. This was especially fitting because the concert site was not 20 yards from where the last concert of the Raleigh Municipal Band was performed. Dr. Jordan observed, “it was appropriate to play our first concert where the previous version of the band had played their last.” The name of the Raleigh City Band was changed to the Raleigh Community Band sometime around July 1979. The rehearsal site was moved to Carroll Middle School in 1980, the band having outgrown its rehearsal space at Jaycees Park. Margo Nolstad acted as band manager during this period.
1982 - 1985
Co-Conductors: Julia Southwick and Keith Henry
Julia Southwick and Keith Henry became the co-conductors of the Raleigh Community Band in 1982. A formal set of Bylaws and a Constitution, both written by George Stephens, were put into place in the early 1980s. George also served as the band’s first president (Jan. 1983 - Jan. 1985) and was succeeded by Martha Holmes (Jan. 1985 - Jan. 1987). During this time, the band broadened its community presence, performing for many civic functions. A summer series was started at the Raleigh Little Theatre’s Rose Garden Amphitheater, with a concert presented once a month from May through September. The band also began regular performances at ArtsPlosure, the Sertoma Arts Center, and the Memorial Day ceremony at the Raleigh National Cemetery. Summer rehearsals, which were added around 1982, took place at Athens Drive High School. Band shirts were purchased in 1984.
1985 - 1995
Co-Conductors: Don Martin and Julia Southwicky
Assistant Conductors: Fred Dart (1989) and Mark Gloden (1991-1995)
Don Martin was named conductor in 1985, and three band members (Julia Southwick, Fred Dart, and Mark Gloden) served as either co-conductor or assistant conductor during Don’s time on the podium. The band’s name changed from the Raleigh Community Band to the Raleigh Concert Band when the Internal Revenue Service officially recognized the band as a non-profit organization in 1987. The summer concert series at the Rose Garden Amphitheater moved to the State Capitol in 1987 and continued there until 1992. Due to its regular performances at the Capitol, the band was given the honorary title of “The State Capitol Band” by Sam Townsend, the Capitol’s administrator. Regular concert dates added during this time included the Cary Hometown Band Festival, Holocaust Memorial Service, and St. Raphael’s Fair. Rehearsals were held year-round at Athens Drive High School beginning in 1993.
For several concerts held in 1993, the band performed a re-creation of John Philip Sousa’s touring concert of 1920. The band also made several long-distance trips during Don’s tenure. The first, in July 1991, was to play in Boone, North Carolina, as a prelude to a performance of The Horn in the West pageant. The band next made a weeklong trip to London and Hull, England, as part of the Sister Cities program. During the trip, which took place July 27 through August 2, 1992, four performances were given -- at Regent’s Park in London, and Queen’s Garden Park, the Guild Hall and Prince’s Quay Mall in Hull. Another trip to western North Carolina occurred in July 1994, when the band performed at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games and at Fred’s General Mercantile on Beech Mountain.
Carl Van Cott assumed the duties of band president in 1987 and held that office until Jan. 1993. Carl used his considerable administrative talents to benefit the band, especially in the area of investigating various funding sources. The band applied for a grant from the Capital Area Arts Foundation (United Arts Council); funds were first received in 1988. The band continued to be funded until 1996. Ardene Shafer took over the reins as president for a two-year term in 1993; Dr. Steve Shafer succeeded her in 1995. The Second Sunday Concert in the Park series at Fred Fletcher Park began in July 1995 -- a series which came about through Steve’s efforts.
1995 - 1998
Co-Conductors: Mark Gloden and Ardene Shafer
Mark Gloden and Ardene Shafer became co-conductors of the Raleigh Concert Band in the fall of 1995. Band membership grew substantially under their leadership. The band continued its successful summer series at Fred Fletcher Park and added the Capitol Easter Sunrise Service, Celebration of the Outdoors in Fuquay-Varina, and the Knightdale Easter Egg Hunt as regular performances. A memorable highlight during this time was a performance for the arrival of the Olympic Torch in 1996. John Pritchett became band president in 1997. That year new band shirts were purchased for wear at less formal outdoors concerts. Band member Karen Zeher donated considerable amounts of her time to personally machine embroider the logo on the shirts. In 1998, trumpet section member Paul McKenzie created a Raleigh Concert Band website. The band also recorded patriotic music in 1998 for a video about respect for the American flag that was to be shown every year to North Carolina school children.
1998 - 2003
Conductor: Mark Gloden
Assistant Conductors: Dr. Jack Fuller (1998-2002), Dr. Roger Phelps (1998-2002), Vince Simonetti (2001), Tom Amoreno (2002-2003), and Carl Kiser (2002-3003)
On September 13, 1998, the Raleigh Concert Band celebrated its 20th anniversary with a concert at Fred Fletcher Park. Former conductors Dick Southwick, Julia Southwick, and Ardene Shafer directed pieces during the performance. The years 1998 through 2003 saw an abundance of directors taking the podium as a rotating “team” of conductors. In addition to principal director Mark Gloden, the band was fortunate to play under the batons of Dr. Jack Fuller, Dr. Roger Phelps, Vince Simonetti, Tom Amoreno, and Carl Kiser as assistant conductors.
Jack Stein assumed the position of band president in 1999. Through his relationship with Dorothea Dix Hospital, he arranged for the band to perform twice a year at that facility -- in the spring and also at Christmas. During 1999, the band rehearsed at several different sites - Cardinal Gibbons High School, the Raleigh Elks Lodge, and Price Music Center on the North Carolina State University Campus.
Rehearsals were moved to Meredith College in August 1999 as part of a cooperative venture with the college’s music department. In June 1999, the band participated in the World Special Olympic Games by performing a concert in Meredith’s outdoor amphitheater. Also in 1999, the City of Raleigh Arts Commission awarded a grant to the band for the composition of the City of Oaks concert march, by Dr. Ken McCoy, a former U.S. Army Field Band staff arranger. The piece was premiered and conducted by Dr. McCoy at the fall concert held at Peace College on November 20, 1999.
Bradley Wilson was elected band president in 2001. Rehearsals continued at Meredith College, with summer rehearsals at Price Music Center. When Brad moved out of state to accept a new job, Carl Van Cott filled out the remainder of his term. The band was called upon to participate in two events at the State Capitol commemorating the victims of September 11th. One event was a deeply moving memorial service on September 14, 2001; the other was a Memorial Observance on the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks. On a happier note, the Cary Academy Wind Ensemble joined the Raleigh Concert Band for a performance at Meymandi Concert Hall on November 13, 2001. Another joint concert was held with the North Carolina State University Wind Ensemble at Stewart Theatre in October 2002.
Patty Pearce became band president in 2003. She has graciously allowed the band to keep its ever-growing music library at her home and has spent many hours, along with music librarian Douglas Brame, organizing and filing music. Her special project during her reign as president was to get every piece of music filed away and accounted for. Special concerts at Fred Fletcher Park in the year 2003 included “Weather Report,” featuring WRAL meteorologist Greg Fishel, who played his tuba and served as a very witty announcer, and another concert called “Music in the Air,” which paid a tribute to the Centennial of Flight.
Conductor: Carl Kiser
Mark Gloden took a one-year sabbatical during the 2004 concert season. Carl Kiser ably served as conductor during that year. On July 15, 2004, the band was part of an evening of entertainment featuring the Mullingar Town Band, a young community band from Ireland, at Cardinal Gibbons High School. Beginning in 2004, the band’s summer concert series at Fred Fletcher Park was abbreviated as the Raleigh Parks and Recreation Department sought to expand opportunities for other groups to perform.
2005 - 2009
Co Conductors: Mark Gloden and Carl Kiser (2009)
In 2005, Vernon Janke was installed as band president, and Mark Gloden returned as conductor. Carl Kiser continued to fill in when Mark was unavailable to direct. Summer rehearsals were moved to Cardinal Gibbons High School and later to the Raleigh Elks Club. Several joint concerts were held with Mark’s elementary school band students from Powell GT Magnet School of the Visual and Performing Arts and Wiley International Magnet School. In February 2005, the band participated in the Carrboro Wind Festival hosted by the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Village Band. In 2006, the band began playing late-summer concerts at the Brentwood Exchange Park, which were usually following by a potluck picnic in the park’s picnic shelter. In 2007, long-time band announcer John Welch hung up his microphone and was replaced by the informative Dave Hunter. A memorable performance was the Replacement and Rededication Ceremony at Oakwood Cemetery in September 2007. During the ceremony, three headstones were replaced for newly identified soldiers who had died as the result of wounds received at Gettysburg in the Civil War. The band also played a joint concert with the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Village Band in March 2008 as part of the Village Band’s outreach to other area concert bands. On October 26, 2008, the Raleigh Concert Band celebrated its 30th anniversary with a concert entitled “Through the Years.” The program featured selections performed by the band during its 30-year existence, beginning with a tuba solo by Rick Guptill -- the same solo that he performed at the band’s first concert in 1978.
Carl Cantaluppi served as band president from 2009-2011. Carl made it his mission to find a more spacious rehearsal venue for the band. As the result of his efforts, the band’s rehearsal site was moved to the Fletcher Academy, which is available for use year-round. Carl also arranged for several of the band’s formal concerts to be held at the beautifully restored Garner Historic Auditorium. New band shirts were also ordered during his tenure. Mark Gloden resigned as conductor in the summer of 2009 due to conflicts with the demands of his new high school band director position. Carl Kiser took over the baton while a conductor search went on over a six-month period. During that time, the band traveled to Boone, NC, to play a joint concert with the Watauga Community Band. Another joint concert with the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Village Band was held in the fall of 2009.
2010 - Present
Conductor: Lem Hardy
Lem Hardy became the conductor of the Raleigh Concert Band in January 2010. During Lem’s first few years on the podium, the band twice participated in the N.C. Community Band Festival, which was held at Vance-Granville Community College in Henderson, N.C. The festival provided the bands and individual sections with the opportunity to work with several clinicians, including Michael Votta, and concluded with a massed band of over 200 musicians playing several numbers. Other community performances included concerts at North Hills Mall, dedication of a POW-MIA memorial garden at American Legion Post 1, the arrival of the Triangle Flight of Honor at RDU Airport, and Got to Be NC Festival at the State Fairgrounds.
Patty Pearce was elected president in 2011. Under Patty’s leadership, the band’s formal concerts were moved to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall on Wade Avenue. A yearly Veteran’s Day concert was instituted for the students at Fletcher Academy as a thank you for providing us with free rehearsal space. Featured speakers at those concerts were members of the band who served in the armed forces. The band performed for the grand re-opening of Pullen Park in November 2011. Pullen Park also became the site of the band’s appearance at the Sunday in the Park Concert Series in 2012 after a re-structuring of the summer concert series by Raleigh Parks and Recreation. In 2012, the band began its own annual outdoor summer concert entitled “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” at the Rose Garden Amphitheatre on the grounds of the Raleigh Little Theatre. Other initiatives included two re-designs of the band’s website by successive webmasters Dick Loring and Frank Longino. Long-time band librarian Doug Brame also took on announcer duties. Beginning in 2013, the band partnered with WCPE, volunteering to man the phones during the radio station’s twice yearly fund drives on “Raleigh Concert Band Day” at WCPE – a partnership that raised community visibility. That same year the band also received the Volunteer Service Award from President Barack Obama.
Constitution and Bylaws
Click HERE to launch copy of the Raleigh Concert Band's Constitution.*
Click HERE to launch copy of the Raleigh Concert Band's Bylaws.*
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