EATON — The Eaton Community Band held its annual Christmas concert on Sunday, Dec. 10. The performance featured special guest soloist Laura Adkins, who has a personal connection to director Tad Stewart.
The annual concert is a fun way to get people into the holiday spirit as the band challenges themselves with interesting and challenging pieces. According to Stewart, the band had close to 200 people show up to the concert this year.
“We’ve been in existence about 15 years. Right now we have 36 members who are mostly from Eaton, but some are from all over. We also have some younger students in the band. This year we have three high school students. We normally ask that the students are at least in the eighth grade, but that really depends on their skill level, because we’re a little advanced,” Stewart explained.
“Usually we hold five or six concerts a year. Last week we played at the Richmond Furniture Gallery. Next week on Dec. 19 we are playing at the Knolls in Oxford at 7 p.m. On April 15 we have a concert with the Ohio Valley Brass Band — they are a semi-professional group. However, we’ve been doing this Christmas concert since the Community Band started.”
When asked why he likes holding the concert, Stewart answered, “Who doesn’t like Christmas music? It puts everybody in the mood. I try to mix things up, I don’t do all Christmas music. I want different stuff for the band to play. I always like to do stuff from a musical and I always like to do a march. I don’t think I’ve ever done a concert that I don’t do a march. They are just fun to listen to and for the band to play.
“They are sometimes hard to play, we do some challenging ones. If you put too easy stuff in there then people don’t want to play. They rather play something they have to work on, but we have to cater to everybody in the group. We have some young students and some people who haven’t picked up an instrument in awhile. It is a balance.”
They performed a mix of holiday music and challenging pieces. The band performed the National Anthem, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Joy to the World, Children’s March, Ragged Roz, Silent Night, 70’s TV Medley — Do you Remember?, Jericho, We Three Kings, Country Cookin’ Christmas and more.
Guest soloist Adkins performed on Joy to the World and We Three Kings.
Stewart explained, “Adkins is a former student of mine. She graduated in 1994 and got a degree in Piano Performance. She has a studio now and teaches lessons. This is her second time with us and I hope to repeat it. She always brings extra people in who come to see her play. She called me looking for more practice and I invited her up. There was no second guessing on that.”
He added, the group is always looking for new players, even if they haven’t played in awhile.