A Treasure for Musicians and Audiences Alike

Photo by Ron King

The Fauquier Community Band  

A riddle for you—what is composed of some former members of the U.S. Air Force Band, senior citizens, school kids, retirees, and talented local musicians with diverse backgrounds, and regularly provides fun, lively, exciting, patriotic, and entertaining music to Fauquier residents for free? The answer, of course, is the Fauquier Community Band. 

If you were lucky enough to have attended Warrenton’s Town Limits festival in June, you have enjoyed hearing them playing spirited patriotic music as fireworks exploded overhead. At the children’s Independence Day parade in downtown Warrenton, band members also entertained and displayed their talents as they accompanied the marchers stepping in time down Main Street.

Courtesy Photo

The Band and its community predecessors have been entertaining locals on and off since it was organized by Barbara Taylor in the late 1980s. Over time, the band has fluctuated in size and instrument composition and now has some 65 members. Demonstrating band members flexibility and commitment, Secretary Sandy Ludes, a violinist, volunteered recently to become a percussionist when one was needed, learning to play the cymbals at the home of the band’s current conductor, Paul Hicks. 

As with all the other Band members, conductor Paul Hicks is also a volunteer. According to Paul, previously a trombone player in the band, he stepped into the vacuum as conductor when his predecessor had to leave. But being a band conductor is nothing new for him; he teaches band and is the band conductor at Marshall Middle School. He clearly loves teaching and performing music and refers to Fauquier Community Band as “an incredible group of talented people” who just love “having fun and playing music.”

Paul met his wife, Lori, when they were both members of the U.S. Air Force Band; he played the trombone and she, the clarinet. They traveled and performed together for the Air Force and married in 1991. They have been making beautiful music together ever since and have passed on their musical talent to a son, now studying music in college, and a younger daughter who is trying to decide whether to join the band. Three high school teens, seeking more of a challenge in their musical development, currently are members of the band. 

By Ron King

Past President Deborah Ray, who lives in Culpeper, has been with the band many years after playing the bass clarinet in high school and college. She says her employer, who played the tuba, encouraged her to join the band after learning of her talent. Deborah recalled several memorable band events, including a Disney films concert where some children dressed as Disney characters, and a Christmas concert at the Fauquier Community Center where homemade Christmas cookies were offered to guests. 

A music selection committee develops the themes and suggests selections to be played. Previous performances have been held at Highland Center for the Arts and Harris Pavilion in Manassas and have included movie music, composer themes (such as the music of George Gershwin), and music focused on holiday celebrations. This month, on October 28, for example, the band will perform music from Broadway, including favorites from The King and I and West Side Story, among many others. Further performances will be held at 7 p.m. at Fauquier High School’s auditorium on December 16, March 23, 2020, and June 1, 2020. Find further information at FauquierCommunityBand.com

Join the Band!

Warning: If you play an instrument, or have ever played an instrument, do not mention it to a current band member unless you want to be urged to join the band. On the other hand, if you love music and do want to be a part of the band, don’t worry about the stress of an audition, as auditions are not required. Whatever your skill level, you can have fun and make a contribution to the band.

Rehearsals are held at Fauquier High School’s band room on Monday evenings from 7 – 8:30 p.m. All you need to do is show up with your instrument and prepare to have fun with some of the nicest folks in the area.

As the band is a 501(c) non-profit organization, it is funded completely by donations and fundraisers, such as raffles offered at each performance sponsored by local restaurants and businesses. Appreciative guests who are Amazon customers also can designate Fauquier Community Band to receive a donation when they make a purchase.

About Gary Carroll 14 Articles
Gary Carroll is a Fauquier native and, except for seven years living abroad, has lived here throughout his life. He has a B.A and M.A. from University of Virginia where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa. He served in the U.S. Government for 25 years where he worked as an analyst, supervisor of analysts, and an instructor for analysts. After retiring, he has continued to work as an instructor for the military and several government agencies where he teaches a variety of communication skills including analytic writing, briefing and public speaking, and supervisor-employee communication. He is married and has two daughters.

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