The Jackson Hole Community Band is a 30-piece ensemble founded in 1989. They pride themselves on providing “an avenue for the extension of musical studies and lifetime enrichment for instrumentalists of all ages and expertise.”
Consisting entirely of volunteers, the community band rehearses nearly year-round to perform at many community events, public concerts, and parades in the Jackson area.
In advance of their Winter Holiday Concert here at the Center for the Arts, band members Jay Wright and Caitlyn Falco joined us recently in the KHOL studios.
The following interview transcript has been edited for clarity and brevity.
KHOL: So, in your bio, it states that you strive to provide total enjoyment for the audience and members alike. Can you touch on the value that a band from the community for the community adds to the area?
Caitlyn Falco: Yeah, I think it’s really a great option for groups to have, you know, it’s people that live here and work here and their friends and family members all know the organization because they’re a part of it. And to have special events like we did for the memorial earlier this summer, just to show that, you know, we are here to support those not only when they need us or when they want us but what works to make everyone in the community feel more connected to each other.
Jay Wright: Right, the Rylee McCollum memorial parade. It’s equally important to us that we have fun doing it and everybody has a good time in addition to just putting on as good of a show as we can.
KHOL: So, an interesting fact I read when researching you guys: You do not hold auditions and welcome anyone that wants to participate. How do you make that work with such a big group of musicians with varying experience levels?
Falco: Yeah. So, there is quite a lot of people who haven’t touched an instrument since they were in high school, and now they have, you know, high school children of their own and others who are freshly out of college who have just studied the instrument. So, there is definitely a wide variety of skill levels in there. And I think for everyone, it’s just about having fun. It’s not, you know, who’s going to have first chair, who’s going to be the best like the top player. Everyone’s just happy to be performing and rehearsing together. And it’s crazy to see a lot of people as well like improving just because there’s an outlet to be able to rehearse again or to be able to get together with the group. So it’s always great to see people who are like, ‘Oh my gosh, I never thought I’d be able to play like this, like I did back ages and ages ago!’ So that’s also heartwarming to hear.
Wright: Yeah, my personal example, I didn’t play my saxophone for over 10 years after high school, and when I moved here, I saw there was a community band, so I picked it up again and I was terrible. But now, another 10 years or so later, I mean, I’m not like an expert or anything like that, but I’m certainly a lot better. So you don’t stay terrible for long when you play with our band. The music can be pretty hard and it forces you to [get better]. It’s like Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. You have to get good.
KHOL: So, what’s next for the Jackson Hole Community Band? And how can those [who are] interested get involved?
Falco: So, we’re still trying to get back to where we were pre-COVID and having more regular rehearsals every single Thursday. Right now, it’s kind of looking like a split, the first hour being for woodwinds and the second hour being for brass. But if anybody is listening and interested in joining us, if you have your own instrument or if you need to ask about borrowing one so that you can come perform with us again, then you can always email firstname.lastname@example.org to get more information. We can definitely hit you up.
Wright: Or just show up at 7 p.m. on a Thursday at the Teton Music School rehearsal room, the big rehearsal room. For anyone listening who plays the clarinet or is interested in percussion, we have special needs for you!
Listen above for KHOL’s full conversation with the Jackson Hole Community Band.