Come join the band! There is a recent movement to start up a community concert band in North Ogden. Other surrounding cities in northern Utah have had community bands for years with continued success. “Why not initiate the tradition of a band here in North Ogden?” asks Loren Jepsen, an 18-year resident of the city. “There has not been a community band during my tenure here.”
As it turns out, North Ogden has had community bands in the past. Photographs provided by the North Ogden Museum provide evidence of their past success.
“There were no television or radio in the days when North Ogden’s top musical entertainment came from the town band. This old time photo shows them as they looked in their musical heyday. The snappy blue and white uniforms shown here cost $15 each. They were an important part of all the town’s big celebrations just before the turn of the century. They took part in several contests and would tour the town in a big wagon serenading the citizens. Neighboring towns sought their services and would transport the musicians and stuff them with food in appreciation, but on the big town celebrations they wouldn’t budge from their home town. Their leader, Charlie Storey, once turned down an offer of $10 by a neighboring town for the services of the band on the fourth of July, one old timer recalled.”(1)
The band continued and enlarged during the 1914-15.
Perhaps there have been other bands in some form, but these are the only known photographs. The Weber High School band has been the main band performing in the past years of the Cherry Days parade.
Bands have served the citizens of the city of North Ogden in the past. Why not do it again, and this time keep it going way into the future? The current band organization proposal has already been presented and accepted by the city council. The movement has been generated by an ad hoc committee formed by Jepsen including the music educators from our local high schools and junior highs (Joseph Windsor, Weber High School; Cindy Child, Venture Academy High School; David Sowby, Orion Junior High School; Jessica Graham, North Ogden Junior High; and Suann Adams, music teacher and promoter). These music educators do a super job training our youth in music theory and practice. Many of these youths have the motivation to continue their training in college. However, who knows how many adult musicians are not playing and not using the skills they acquired in our schools. Many of these people attend concerts in schools involving their kids and remember the days they played and admit they would like to play again. That is the motivation for the current community band movement.
Jepsen, who has recently revived his instrument playing skills and has taken on the task of learning to play the clarinet too, says, “If I can do it at the age of 70+ anybody can.” He has been playing recently with the band in Clearfield and wants to play in a group closer to home. “There are a lot of people out there better than I am that will help us former ‘closet musicians’ in the new band,” he says.
The ad hoc committee agrees there is a large pool of “closet musicians” and active musicians in the area that would join a community band. The city has agreed to have the band practice in the North View Senior Citizens Center. Now the big job is to find those who would like to once again enjoy the activity of making music in a social and recreational atmosphere.
The band already has a volunteer conductor. His name is Brent Broome. Brent is a professional musician with academic training in conducting. He has been a conductor in many music organizations in the past, including community concert bands. He is eager to get started with the new organization.
We are meeting in the North View Senior Citizens Center (485 E. 2550 N., North Ogden, Utah). Rehearsals are on Wednesday nights at 7:00 p.m. You need not be a resident of North Ogden to join. We need band instruments of all kinds and welcome your interest in joining with us. Musicians of all levels and ages are welcome as long as in the past you have high school playing experience.