Most students and teachers have packed their bags and called it a day by 7 p.m. Monday at Ardmore High School.
But not Assistant Director of Fine Arts Chauvin Aaron and about a dozen fellow musicians forming a semicircle together inside the Pride of Ardmore band hall.
Musical scales to the beat of a metronome sing through the band hall from 7 to 8:30 p.m. each Monday from the Ardmore Youth and Community Band. The ensemble welcomes anybody who has experience in playing an instrument to join weekly practices in preparation for community events.
“It’s a true community band in that anyone is invited to come and participate,” Aaron said. “If people are interested in playing, we will find a way to get an instrument in their hands.”
The Youth and Community Band picked up again after about a three-year hiatus. Aaron assembled the band during his first stint with AHS in 2013 as a means for area residents to indulge in their passion for musical performance.
Since Aaron’s return to AHS in July, he decided to renew the group — the band is back on tour.
His goal now is to nurture its growth into a thriving chorus of people who choose to play because they embrace the joy of music.
“It’s been word of mouth so far. I think right now we have 15 or so who routinely come,” Aaron said. “We try to tailor it for those who come as in what kind of music they want to play, or specific genre.”
Aron Renkiewicz, who plays trombone for the community band, has played in community bands for several years now, dating to back when he was a junior in high school.
The Youth and Community Band offers a way for him not only to sharpen his skill, but meet fellow musicians looking for a chance to congregate.
“Community band is a great place for us to meet other adults who want to play, and for us to get an opportunity to get our instruments out,” Renkiewicz said. “An instrument isn’t a ‘solo’ type of item — it’s something you’ve got to have a group for.”
Davis High School senior and drum major Mason Lee is savoring every opportunity he gets to play his alto saxophone with others.
Lee, who has played since he was a sixth grader, met Aaron at Red River Drum and Auxiliary Camp last summer at Lake Murray State Park. Aaron would later approach Lee to see if he wanted to join the community band.
“It was always something I wanted to do,” Lee said. “And I love band, so I thought I would try it.”
As he draws closer to reaching the finish line of academia before college, he knows he won’t have the same opportunity he now has to be surrounded by fellow band members.
“I know after I graduate college, I’m probably not going to get very many opportunities to play my instrument other than by myself,” he said. “To have something like this and do what you love is really important I think.”
The Ardmore Youth and Community Band will hold its first performance starting at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 10 at the Oklahoma Veterans Center.