Community Band Spotlight February 2011 February 03 2011, 0 Comments


By Krista Slinkard, Altissimo Staff

It seems that most people figure out what they love at an early age. Some enjoy sports and want to be famous athletes. Some enjoy adventures and want to be astronauts or cowboys. Others, such as the members of the Madison Community Band, enjoy music and wish to share that love and enjoyment with others! It was through this musical enthusiasm from a group of 15 musicians that the Madison County Community Band was created in 1993, allowing the opportunity for members of the community to continue to play in a band setting. One such founding member, Conductor Dave Ryan, became interested in music at an early age with the help of his grandfather, who took Ryan along to his own rehearsals and concerts for the band in which he performed. In later years, Ryan joined the high school band at Lee High in Huntsville, AL, studying composition, theory, and conducting along the way. Though he is not a professional conductor, he says “Music is my passion!,” a feeling that is no doubt shared by the band members and evident in their performances and work in their community. The mission of the band is to encourage the growth of music in and around the community through the heritage of the Community band in American music history. They have grown from 15 members at inception to 63 members, averaging 45 at weekly rehearsals. Members include middle school aged to middle aged to retired, and vocations include students, engineers, teachers, parents, programmers, and everything in between, with 5 military veterans accounted for as well. As a side note of particular interest to us, the band held a patriotic concert in 2009 which included an Abraham Lincoln reenactor from our stomping ground of Nashville, TN. The Band took Mr. Lincoln to two local elementary schools where Mr. Lincoln spoke of his life and Presidency  with 500 students. What a cool experience and an interesting link to our community here in Tennessee! At performances, the band most enjoys playing Christmas and upper-level symphonic music the best. Ryan selects the music based on venue and audience, usually imaging what he would want to hear were he sitting in the audience himself. The band performs throughout the Tennessee Valley and northern Alabama, and their repertoire includes: Traditional Marches, Patriotic Music, American and Classical Favorites, Broadway, TV and Film, Big Band, and Christmas music. The Madison Community Band has played at library openings, new schools, businesses, as well as local charity events, conferences, dedications, and for music days at local preschools to entertain the kids. Arts Education is a big thing for the Madison Community Band, and musical promotion for school-age children is one of the most important philanthropic activities they take part in, with several different methods of reaching the school-age community. One effort includes taking percussion instruments to preschools, teaching the basics, and then letting the children have a go at playing them. There is no doubt that these children love making some noise! The band’s efforts in schools do not stop there. They have sponsored a Tri-M Honor Society chapter at a local high school where 61 band and choral students were inducted. These students have benefited from the funding, materials, and mentors supplied by Madison Community Band. For three years (2000, ’01, and ’09), they have also brought in professional musicians to teach clinics at local schools, focusing on teaching the history of concert bands and instruments to students. Finally, in 2004, the band began a scholarship program to provide a monetary award to a deserving junior or senior student. The purpose of this scholarship is to encourage students to get out of the classroom and become active in their communities to become part of a more “diverse music environment.” It is one more way that the band fulfills their mission to directly promote concert band music, the arts, and community involvement of its youngest members. A love of anything can begin early, and the Madison Community Band is dedicated to promoting music in their community to continue the growth of Art Education and awareness. They have done an excellent job providing opportunities for musical growth at any age. We applaud their efforts, and are proud to present them as our Community Band Spotlight for February! Special Thanks to Dave Ryan for being an excellent interview contact If you’d like to learn more about the Madison Community Band, please visit their website at