Sequim City Band seeks to “finance the final”

With a timely fundraiser, the musicians of the Sequim City Band may have a little more space for practice.

The group of musicians from across the Olympic Peninsula are looking to put the finishing touches on ‘Fund the Final’, a fundraising campaign to raise around $ 1 million to build an extended rehearsal space at Swisher Hall, part of the James Center for Performing Arts.

Group spokesperson Vicky Blakesley said the organization raised around 80% of its fundraising goal through grants from the MJ Murdock Charitable Trust ($ 300,000) and the Department of Commerce’s ArtsFund (250 $ 000), private donations ($ 225,000) and pledges ($ 27,000).

“The majority of private donations and pledges come from group members,” Blakesley noted.

The initial budget is $ 1,011,000 for construction. Blakesley said the group would need to raise an additional $ 200,000 to create the structure, with other funds needed for items such as chairs.

The group has created a fundraising page with more details on

Representatives of the group announced their fundraising campaign at their “Together Again” concert on August 22, but declined to make a public request for community support until they had most of the fundraising in hand. she declared.

Since 2005, when the group donated the James Center to the town of Sequim, the group has rehearsed in the small one-story building on the south side of the outdoor stage.

Swisher Hall – a 1,500 square foot space – was designed as a storage space for filing cabinets containing sheet music and percussion equipment and a workspace for the music librarian, band members say.

And while the space could comfortably accommodate 35 musicians, the group already numbered 40 members in 2005. In most years, the group has over 50 musicians and had 70 members at their concert in the summer of 2021.

While the band was able to rehearse outside for this performance, band members for much of the year struggle to rehearse in the current rehearsal room, struggling with noise issues and lack of air conditioning. .

“Most of the band members use earplugs specially designed for musicians to protect their hearing during rehearsals, as the rehearsal room is sub-optimal in its acoustic properties, with a 12-foot flat ceiling,” Blakesley said.

Over the years, the group’s board of directors set money aside to fund feasibility studies when it became clear that more rehearsal space would be needed.

“It has become evident that all of these musicians and instruments can no longer ‘sneak’ into Swisher Hall,” said Blakesley. While the group was on a pandemic hiatus, the group’s board of directors has spent the past 18 months examining alternatives for expanded rehearsal space.

In June 2021, the board of directors selected Roy Hellwig of Tormod Hellwig, LLC to develop the project concept, initial plans and a construction budget, and Steve Zenovic was selected as the project manager.

New look, more space

The rehearsal space, Blakesley said, should be acoustically designed for a large musical group – in particular, it will have a 20-foot ceiling – as well as an air conditioning system.

“The rehearsal space helps a community group flourish. Time spent in the rehearsal room brings a high level of enjoyment to community musical ensembles such as the Sequim City Band, ”said Jonathan Pasternak, conductor and musical director of the Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra and trombonist and percussionist. guest of the Sequim City Band, highlighting his thoughts on the importance of adequate rehearsal space in his biopic on the band’s webpage.

“The physical space can help expand the psychological space and comfort in the experience of making music, which is transformed again when the audience hears the music,” he said.

In partnership with the Town of Sequim – despite its name, the Sequim Town Band is not affiliated with the Municipality – the band will pay for the construction of the rehearsal building and then transfer ownership to the town in exchange for a long-term use lease.

Blakesley said there were still further steps to be taken with the city regarding permits and the lease, but as of last week those talks looked promising.

Active group

The musicians of the Sequim City Band who give several free concerts come from all over the Olympic Peninsula, Forks to Port Hadlock and everything in between. The group frequently hosts other nonprofit musical groups each year, such as the Port Townsend Summer Band, local high school wind ensembles, and the Navy Band Northwest.

“It’s (music) a universal language that everyone understands,” said Bob Golightly, the band’s 23-year-old clarinetist, who highlighted the importance of live music to Sequim in his biopic on the band’s website. group.

“It’s apolitical, it’s bringing people together rather than dividing them,” he said.

The group also supports young musicians and invites high school students to join and participate in public concerts.

The Sequim City Band offers a scholarship program for young musicians who plan to continue playing music while continuing their university studies.

In addition to the free public concerts, the group supports and performs at other community events, including downtown Christmas concerts, Music in the Park in Sequim and Music on the Pier in Port Angeles, Seniors Luncheon and Moreover.

The group also has small group ensembles that have performed at smaller venues such as the Clallam County Fair, various assisted living facilities, and the US Coast Guard station in Port Angeles.

Representatives of the Sequim City Band offered to speak to groups about this project; Connect with the group through the “Contact” tab on the group’s webpage at or leave a voicemail at 360-207-4722.

The Sequim City Band is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization for tax deductible purposes.

For more information visit Where

A view of the tuba section of the Sequim City Band, with director Tyler Benedict during the concert on August 22, 2021. The tuba and percussion sections are not visible in this photo. Photo by Jesse Major / Jesse Major Photography

About 40 musicians come to Swisher Hall for a rehearsal in 2016. Photo by Richard Greenway

About 40 musicians come to Swisher Hall for a rehearsal in 2016. Photo by Richard Greenway

Corina C. Butler

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