A Musical Renewal: Thoughts from a Maryland Community Band Member

This blog post is by David Wagner, clarinetist and member of the Maryland Community Band.

Maryland Community Band

Maryland Community Band photo by Ken Rubin

I was intrigued as I read the notice. Could I actually return to the enjoyment I knew playing my instrument as a student? It had been over 30 years since I experienced the immense satisfaction of music making. School, career and family had left little time for dedicated attention to expanding my instrumental proficiency.

But now that the kids had graduated from college, I began to reacquaint myself with my clarinet. Then I saw the newspaper notice about a community band program that could be the chance to once again immerse myself in a musical program like the ones that had brought me so much pleasure in the past. It certainly suggested an enriching and expanding phase as I approached moving from my career into the rest of my life.

Suddenly, there I was seated at the end of the clarinet section playing a third clarinet part under the direction of Professor John Wakefield and holding onto my hat. Though I had played in a college band, I was challenged to the limit by this new experience.

I immediately availed myself of the musical expertise around me and began taking lessons from a doctoral clarinet student in the UMD School of Music. That student and I still play together on occasion in a reading quartet.

Today, the Maryland Community Band has grown into an ensemble of considerable proficiency, populated by many fine amateur musicians from many walks of life.

Playing and improving my musical capabilities is a life-expanding experience I wish everyone could enjoy. I am very thankful that my alma mater had the insight to develop such a rewarding and successful outreach program.