By KIM BLACK
The Amarillo College community concert band has a new director with a vision for the future.
“My dream is to have a student-driven band with at least a 50-50 split,” Bruce Collins, the band’s new director, said. In January, Collins came out of retirement to join the AC faculty and direct the concert band.
According to Collins, the band consists of students, both music majors and others, as well as faculty from other departments and community members.
“At the first meeting, we had 19 come. The next week, five of them were out, but we had 17 new members. Every practice we see new faces,” Collins said. “And I’m grateful for every one. More members will translate into better music.”
“This is different than a normal school band. We have a unique community,” Loagan Tolbert, a music major and band president, said.
Community members represent all age groups and backgrounds. Some are professionals or retired individuals who haven’t played in years. Others are still playing in their high school bands.
“Playing in this way is a little more difficult because of the wide range of skill levels of all the members. But, it gives us a
new perspective of how we do what we do,” Tolbert said.
Collins said he hopes to expand the class by recruiting students who played in high school but have majors in other subjects. “Most band members bring their own instruments, but the college has one of everything and can supply an instrument if the student needs one,” Collins said.
The band also relies on players from the Amarillo area for members. “The small fee we receive for those who get continuing education credits goes to support the music program to keep it strong,” Collins said.
Nick Petruccione, an AC supplemental instructor, has played the trumpet since the fifth grade. He saw Collins’ schoolwide email and decided to join the band. “I play for the love of music. You get away from it, and you miss it,” Petruccione said.
The band is preparing for concerts scheduled for March 10 and May 7. The March concert will feature music with a St. Patrick’s Day theme.