Making Music Together Since 1989
Although Westerville has had a continuing Community Band presence since 1869, this latest version of the Westerville Community Bands was established in January 1989. It was formed by core members from the North American/Rockwell Concert Band following the decision by Rockwell International to close its Columbus plant. With the need for a new home for their band of almost 30 years, member John Bierley and Director Tim Jameson worked with Westerville Parks and Rec to establish a new home in the community of Westerville and it began to grow.
As this new organization grew, so did the interest in other styles of music. In addition to the Concert Band, additional groups formed: German Band, Big Band, Dixieland Band and various other small groups. In 1992, the name was officially changed to the Westerville Community Bands to reflect the inclusion of both the Concert Band and the small groups.
Upon the resignation of Director Jameson in 2001, the band hired renowned Music Director and educator Richard Suddendorf. Under Director Suddendorf’s leadership, Professional Guest soloists were added to the Spring Concert Band repertoire. In 2014, Maestro Suddendorf retired and the band hired local music educator Larry Klabunde as its Music Director. Under Director Klabunde’s leadership the band traveled to Buffalo NY to perform at the Association of Concert Bands (ACB) annual convention. The band now numbers 80 musicians, featuring some of the best musical talent in central Ohio.
While the greatest sense of accomplishment comes from performance, the Westerville Community Bands organization plays an important role in promoting the arts in the Westerville community. The concert band performs year-round with 4 major indoor concerts, several outdoor concerts, and they also partner with the Westerville Arts Council and the City of Westerville to promote arts in the Westerville community. Some of the events from the past include: Art in the Park, Westival, Lunchbox Concerts, Ohio Community Band Festival, Wednesday/Sunday Alum Creek Summer Music Series, Fourth Friday, Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, and Field of Heroes.
Today, the Westerville Community Bands are comprised of the Concert Band, Big Band, and a dozen other small ensembles that regularly perform in and around the Westerville community.
The Westerville Community Bands organization is non-profit and is supported by the City of Westerville Community Partners, the Columbus Foundation, and the many generous individual supporters in the community.