Woodward, Okla. —
The newly formed Woodward Area Community Band is tuning up for Crystal Christmas.
After starting rehearsals in late September, the community band will make its debut at the Opening Night celebration for Crystal Christmas on Nov. 23.
"We're excited to help kick off the Christmas season," said Greg Nuse, who is a member of the band as well as one of its organizers.
The band is comprised of musicians of all ages who hail from a number of area towns.
"We've had people come in from Buffalo, Vici and Laverne as well as from Woodward and Mooreland," Nuse said. "And the people range in age from 14-years-old up into their 60s."
The band members also play a wide range of instruments, including flutes, clarinets, French horns, saxophones, trombones, tubas, trumpets and percussion instruments, Nuse said.
The diverse group meets every Tuesday night from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Woodward High School band room to rehearse together. They are led by former Boomer band director David Mudd.
"Our main focus right now is Christmas music," Nuse said.
Especially since they are less than 2 weeks away from performing for Crystal Christmas Opening Night, which is a longtime tradition in Woodward, held to kick off the opening of the Christmas lighting display at Crystal Beach Park.
"My understanding is that we'll be the opening act and then provide a little entertainment in the middle and then be closing the whole thing out," Nuse said of the upcoming Crystal Christmas performance.
To prepare for the gig, he said the band is practicing different instrumental versions of several classic Christmas carols, including "Deck the Halls" and "Santa Claus is Coming to Town."
"They'll definitely be familiar songs," he said, but noted "the arrangements will be a little different than what you may be used to."
In addition to the holiday songs, Nuse said, "We've got a couple of concert pieces and a couple of patriotic pieces and we run through them each week."
"We do have other things in our repertoire so that by the time the holiday season is over we will be able to perform other places," he said. "We like the idea of maybe performing concerts at the park or the Arts Theatre."
Nevertheless, he believes Opening Night of Crystal Christmas is the perfect way for the band to introduce itself to the community.
"I'm really looking forward to it. I think we're going to make a good name for ourselves and I think people will be pleased with our performance," he said.
Having started the community band as a way for musicians who maybe hadn't played in a while to get together and enjoy performing again, Nuse said he is pleased with the initial response.
"It's been really good," he said, explaining that more than 60 area musicians have already signed up to participate in the band.
"And we average about 40 to 45 people a week at rehearsals," he said.
However, Nuse said there is still room for more to join the band.
"There's still a call out for anybody and everybody who wants to join us," he said. "I would love it if we got to a point where people were carpooling from other communities rather than just have a couple of individuals here and there. I would love it if we got to 80 to 100 people strong."
Nuse said the call is open to anyone with musical talent, regardless of other circumstances.
"Don't worry about whether you own your own instrument. At least contact us or come visit us and we can see what we can do to help you out," he said. "And don't worry about the amount of years that have gone by. If you haven't touched your instrument in 10 or 20 years, don't let that slow you down either."
If you are interested in joining the community band or just want to learn more about, Nuse said, "you can look us up on Facebook on our Woodward Area Community Band page."
"Otherwise you can come see us at our rehearsals on Tuesday evenings and we'll be happy to talk to you then," he said.