America's Hometown Band to host free show at Emens

America's Hometown Bands perform "The Joyous Notes of Christmas" on Dec 6 at Emens Auditorium. The concert was introduced by Terry Whitt Bailey, Muncie's Director of Community Development. DN PHOTO KELLEN HAZELIP
America's Hometown Bands perform "The Joyous Notes of Christmas" on Dec 6 at Emens Auditorium. The concert was introduced by Terry Whitt Bailey, Muncie's Director of Community Development. DN PHOTO KELLEN HAZELIP

To celebrate its achievements as one of the most active musical organizations in Delaware County for the past 29 years, America’s Hometown Band will perform a free concert at John R. Emens Auditorium.

The anniversary show will be at 4 p.m. Sunday.

The performance will feature several Ball State faculty members and students. There will also be performances ranging from Shostakovich’s full-band Festive Overture, and a xylophone duet featuring two former Ball State graduates and local area high school music directors Rebekah Weaver and David Robins.

The band played at the 25th anniversary of Emens when they were just starting out, which makes celebrating at Emens seem like a full-circle achievement for the group, said Roger McConnell, the band’s music director. McConnell is also a music performance professor at Ball State.

“It is special for us to be able to have the opportunity to play at Emens,” he said.

Although the band is celebrating its 29th year, it has no plans to slow down any time soon. The band is currently working on a program in the Muncie Central High School that is aimed at enhancing the image of band performance.

They also plan to continue their involvement in the Delaware community and in the local schools.

“We want to continue to encourage music in schools and help [students] realize the great enrichment that music can offer them in their lives,” McConnell said.

Providing a positive spread of music and entertainment throughout the community is what the group has done for the past 29 years, McConnell said.

Starting at Emens, they plan to continue their journey for many more years to come.

Some of the spotlight performers include:

Aryn Day Sweeney — Winner of the 2005 Barbirolli International Oboe Competition, and currently the principal oboist of the Lexington Philharmonic and the Anderson Philharmonic. She will be performing “Oboe Variations, from Tchaikovsky 4th” (arr. J. Rhinehart).

George Wolfe — A saxophone soloist and the most recorded member of the music performance faculty at Ball State. He has performed throughout the United States and has concertized in places such as Europe, Costa Rica, Canada and India. Wolfe will be performing “Historette” (B. Couroyer).

Phillip Cooley — A local jazz and classical keyboard artist, former physician and U.S. Army Colonel. Along with McConnell, he is also a co-founder of the band. Dr. Cooley will perform “Warsaw Concerto” (R. Addinsell).

Diana Guinn — A local vocalist who has been a featured soloist with the band since 2011. Guinn will perform “Homeward Bound” (M. Thompson).

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