Alpena City Band welcomes new members of all ages | News, Sports, Jobs

News Photo by Darby Hinkley Above, left to right, Ben Jackson, a high school student, and Dennis Artley, who has more life experience, played music together last week in the Alpena City Band .

ALPENA – Every Thursday night throughout the summer, the Alpena City Band performs at 7:30 p.m. at the Bandstand in Bay View Park.

Not only do they love to play and sound great, but the band is always welcoming new members, from teenagers to retirees, and everyone in between.

“This is our 103rd season,” said Bob Sullivan, director of the city orchestra. “The only one we’ve ever missed is 2020.”

Lisa Cook is in her eighth year of directing, Sullivan said.

Gene Domrase started playing in the town band in 1964.

News Photo by Darby Hinkley Ron Cady, Gene Domrase and Dennis Artley all started in the Alpena City Band in the 1960s. They enjoy being part of a fun group and being able to use their talents to enrich the community.

“I started when I was a sophomore in high school,” said Domrase, who plays alto saxophone. “I just like to play. It’s a lot of fun. It’s a good community group, I think it’s good for the community, and it’s a good way to pass the time when you get older.

He went off to college for four years and taught school for a few years, then joined the band when he returned.

“If there’s anyone else in the community who hasn’t played in a while, come join us,” Domrase said. “It’s not a very stressful job.”

Dennis Artley plays tuba in the town orchestra. He joined in 1963.

“I played all the way,” Artley said. “I never left.”

He loves to play music.

“Being able to play a musical instrument at any age is fun to do, and we encourage more people to do it, if they want to, Artley said. “There are so many people who played in high school and then they dropped the horn. Why not come back and have a little fun?

He said no matter what instrument you play, there’s a place for you.

“If we can, it would be nice to have another tuba player,” Artley added.

Ron Cady, a trumpet player, joined the band in 1965.

“So the three of us are pretty old,” Cady said with a smile. “But we were all quite young when we started.”

“You’re only as old as you allow yourself to be,” Artley added. “If you keep busy and stay active, you keep going forever.”

Cady also shares a love of music.

“I just like playing music,” Cady said. “You get in touch with some of the great minds of the past, composers of the past, and you bring their music to life when you play it.”

“It’s been a nice ride all these years,” Artley said.

“It’s just a lot of fun,” Cady added. “Plus, you get the camaraderie of people with the same interests as you.”

“We’re hoping for more members soon,” Sullivan added.

He said the group currently has about 16 members, but 20 to 25 would be a good number of members.

The group will perform on a set during the 4th of July Parade, courtesy of Goodrich Trucking. They are also grateful to Alpena Community College for allowing them to use the Granum Theater for rehearsals, Sullivan added.

“It’s such a joy,” said Sullivan, who also plays trumpet in the band. “Every summer we have such a great time.”

For more information, or to support or sponsor the group, contact Sullivan at 989-464-0007.


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Corina C. Butler