Strike Up the Holly Springs Community Band

Jessica Albert playing French horn

When was the last time you heard a concert band perform? You know .. the kind of band you probably played in during middle school — woodwinds (flute, clarinet, saxophone), brass instruments (trumpet, trombone) and percussion.

If you can’t recall, and chances are you probably can’t, then the Holly Springs Community Band can change that.

This group of 45 volunteer musicians is one of the resident groups of the Holly Springs Cultural Center, and the institution has been around for about 14 years.

The Holly Springs Community Band plays three formal concerts indoors at the cultural center each year, plus one outdoor concert during Summer in the Springs and at various community events.

Conductor Mark Gloden leads the Holly Springs Community Band during their winter concert.

“It’s a really excellent way to have community members experience live music without spending a lot of money or making big plans to go into Raleigh,” says Debbie Dunn-Smoot, the band’s president and an alto saxophone player. “We try to make it an experience that you want to come back to again and again.”

You’ll hear music spanning all genres, including marches, classical overtures, showtunes and movie themes, hand picked by conductor Mark Gloden. There may be a few surprises, too.

“A lot of times I’ll get people up from the audience and give them the baton. The band will know to play on, but the person with the baton will have a lot of fun,” he says.

Next Concert:

Sat., April 4
Holly Springs Cultural Center
7:30 P.M.
Tickets: $3-$5 to purchase

Gloden became the band’s conductor in 2015, adding another tick to his extensive musical resume, which already included four years in the Navy band in San Diego, undergraduate and graduate music degrees and a career teaching music in Florida and North Carolina. Now semi-retired, Gloden still subs occasionally in Wake County schools.

“It’s just fun directing a band,” he says. “Musicians really love playing these songs. It’s not work for us. It may be more fun for everybody up on the stage.

“Kids really love hearing the sounds of the instruments.” he adds. “Adults love the marches and showtunes. It brings everybody together.”

The band rehearses once a week and welcomes musicians of varied experience. There are no tryouts or auditions. However, true beginners may feel overwhelmed.

“What we ask is that musicians play music at a grade 3, kind of a middle school or high school level. Usually people who played in high school will fit in just wonderfully,” Gloden says.

Due to space limitations at the Holly Springs Cultural Center, the band is limited in the number of players that can be seated on the stage, and there is currently a waiting list for prospective members. That doesn’t mean membership is completed closed.

Brass instruments, like the Trombone, woodwinds and percussion form the Holly springs Community Band.

“During the summer, we have a larger capacity for musicians because the concerts are played outdoors,” says Dunn-Smoot, encouraging interested folks to try out the band during the summer months, when performance events include Salamanders baseball games and the Holly Springs farmers market.

When Dunn-Smoot first joined the group in 2016, there wasn’t space for her to play saxophone. Instead, she volunteered in the percussion section, playing the timpani drums for the first time, and various percussion instruments as needed.

“It’s nice to be able to change around depending on the needs of the music that we are playing,” she says. “I got a lot of on-the-job training from the percussionists who did know what they were doing. It’s a really nice community that we have supporting each other.”

Gloden agrees. “This a group of wonderful people — really nice people to know as musicians and as friends. And making music is a lot of fun. You get a double win there.”

Musicians interested in membership should e-mail

Holly Springs Community Band

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