June 14, 2001
Band More Than Music Sheets and Mouth PiecesEileen Gosman
How - and why - does someone who knows diddly squat about music start a band? My curiosity was piqued when I read a letter to the editor in the May 31 Herald, reminding readers that Bay resident Wade Mosby founded the Whitefish Bay Community Band.
I dialed up Mosby to get the answer. He said, "Way back, when I had completed three terms on the Whitefish Bay Foundation, I felt the one thing we missed in the village was some musicians."
Mosby said his fellow foundation members, who like himself know nothing about music, suggested that he do it. So, although Mosby had wanted "to leave the foundation with a good idea to work on," he took on the job himself.
It was just a matter of finding one or two musicians, Mosby said, because every community has a network of amateur musicians. He found Wally Just and George Hardy, and they rustled up the rest. Getting rehearsal space, Mosby said, was easy, first at the old Henry Clay School, then in the Lydell gym and finally in the Whitefish Bay Middle School band room, where to this day the band rehearses on Wednesday nights, May through August.
Mosby, who described his role as "the person who kept things glued together," has praise for the Department of Public Works: "The village cooperates about a billion percent. I can be sure there will be a nice tent, 27 to 30 chairs for musicians and a wire to work the public address system.
The band's first concert will be at 7 p.m., June 27 at Schoolhouse Park, and Mosby, as always, will be there. Although he no longer attends rehearsals, he said he wouldn't miss a concert for anything. The band will also play Wednesday nights, July 11 and 25, and 3 p.m. Sundays, August 5, 12 and 19.
Conductor Carol O'Brien of Fox Point joined the band about six years ago as a tuba and baritone player. This season marks her fourth as conductor. O'Brien was happy to report the recent addition to the band of two high school flutists. O'Brien, who selects the music for each concert, does so with an eye toward both young families and an older audience. A mix of marches and familiar show tunes seems to please. She promises some new pieces at the first concert.
Note from IowaI chatted last week with former North Shore editor May Schuchmann and her husband, Russ, who moved to Iowa a few months ago. Mary played clarinet and Russ, trombone, in the Whitefish Bay Community Band. Now they are doing the same in the Newton Band.
It took no time at all for Mary to meet someone whose husband plays trombone. One thing led to another. First Russ asked to join the band, and soon after, the director "begged" Mary to play clarinet. The band plays weekly in a band shell reminiscent of Washington Park in Milwaukee. Newton, a town close to Grinnell, where the Schuchmanns live, just happens to be where their daughter, Sarah, and her family live. Mary said she sat with her grandson at the first concert, and true to form, little Peyton pointed and exclaimed, "There's Grandpa!"
Eileen Gosman welcomes your comments and suggestions. Call (262) 317-8562 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.