Kingman Concert Band
In late 1998 a small group of local musicians led by Marian Craig, a librarian and flutist, met with the idea of forming a community concert band. Julie Porter-Hickok came up with the name “Kingman Concert Band.” The new band had its first rehearsal in March of 1999 with one flute, one euphonium, one clarinet and Les Krause conducting. By May 5th of that year the band performed its first concert, a ‘Cinco de Mayo’ celebration for the Downtown Merchants Association. A huge band of about nine.
Les continued conducting for another year, the band gradually growing in size. Tom Boone and Art Swanson, local public school music teachers, took over the conducting duties in 2000, purchasing and borrowing music to build a library for the growing band. We even had a logo and shirts by now.
By 2001 Art, and more importantly his wife Ingrid, took over the duties of principal conductor. The band continued to grow until we had a steady compliment of between 20 and 30 musicians and relatively balanced sections within the band. This meant we needed more music. Since the band consisted of musicians with a wide range of abilities, from professional musicians and teachers to “weekend warriors”, we needed a wide range of music to play. Challenging yet playable. The library added more marches, popular and show tunes, and standard concert band literature (Holst, Grainger, Vaughn Williams, Robert Russel Bennett, etc.) The library was so impressive that the band was contacted by American Concert Band association to join.
As with any organization there are a lot of things happening “behind the scenes.” Under the leadership of Karen Lynne (a non-musician but occasional cowbell performer) as board president, the band became a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization, a website was created, and the organizational bylaws were written.
The band’s first performances were at the Kingman Library entryway which it quickly outgrew. It then expanded its venues to include schools and churches. The band has performed for a variety of community events including the annual Mother’s Day Festival, Memorial Day Ceremonies, the County Fair, KABAM and the Education Festival. We have even played dances for the Air Show and Lingenfelter Center. Two venues are now regular events, the ‘Sounds of Kingman’ Concerts in the Parks series and the annual Holiday Concert at Kingman Presbyterian Church. The venues have come full circle with a return to the Library with a much larger seating capacity.
In the fall of 2014 Art passed the baton on to Julie Gragg, Kingman Middle School Band director and District Music Coordinator. Under her leadership the band continues to expand its library, stressing more formal concert venues and themed programs. The band has become incorporated and has established a clear delegation of duties. The band has expanded its website and fundraising efforts to enhance the band’s success and visibility.
As the KCB enters its third decade we are grateful to the many musicians who have passed through our ranks and are excited about future ahead of us.