Cary, NC — There’s more to Cary than meets the eye, like a skate park and downtown theater, to name a couple of examples. But in the case of the Cary Town Band, there’s more to Cary than meets the ear.
The sounds of march music and even the Pirates of the Caribbean theme filled Bond Park’s Seratoma Amphitheater for the band’s annual spring concert Friday night. Request Friday, as it was called, brought dozens of listeners out to the park, some with lawn chairs and coolers.
The Story of the Cary Town Band
Music aficionado Dr. Jim Hammerle started the band in 1987 because he wanted to bring a early 1900’s style band to Cary. At the time the group was started, it had about 6 members. The band wore traditional marching uniforms with brass buttons. The group has grown greatly since then, to its current membership of 47.
Clarinetist Stuart Holoman is now the principal conductor.
A Band of Doctors and Business People
Holoman said that the majority of the band members are not professional musicians. Instead, he said the band is made up of doctors, business men, and business women. Holoman is a computer scientist who runs his own computer security company.
“For them, music is an avocation, not a vocation.”- Stuart Holoman, Cary Town Band conductor
Interested musicians must audition in order to join the band. The group has weekly rehearsals in the Cary Arts Center, and Holoman said dedication is key.
Recreating the Early 20th Century Band
The band mostly plays music from 1860 to 1920. This includes marches, waltzes, and polkas. Holoman keeps the mood of the concert as light and fun as a circus march by adding jokes in between songs and offering the coveted “concert silly prize.” At each concert, Holoman randomly selects one lucky winner to get a bag of gifts that relate to the music that was performed. Silly prizes have included a plush monkey, a plastic dancing frog, and a package of Italian sausage.
Cary’s Official Town Band
The Cary Town Band is unique in the fact that it is officially affiliated with the Town of Cary. Holoman said it is common for towns to have a band centered around the community, but the Cary Town Band is the Town of Cary’s official band. They play for Town events including the 4th of July and Train Day.
The best part? All Cary Town Band concerts are free. So take a trip down memory lane and listen to the tunes of Cary’s very own town band.
More Info: http://www.carytownband.org/
Story by Kristen Chung, a sophomore at UNC Chapel Hill and summer journalism intern at CaryCitizen. File photos by Hal Goodtree.