The WKU Campus Community Band: a musical space for everyone


Gary Schallert, director of bands at WKU, entered the rehearsal room of the Music Hall at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 4 on the dot. A loud roar of music filled the room as the musicians warmed up their instruments in preparation for the night’s practice.

Student assistants passed out sheet music to the band members. Tonight the band was sight reading orchestra scores “Legend of Bafe” by John Fannin and “His Honor” by Henry Fillmore.

The room was filled with people of all ages. A WKU student sits beside an older woman playing the lead part for trumpet. A gray-haired man moves his trumpet slide back and forth while talking with another student.

“Okay, guys, let’s get started,” Schallert said, and the room fell to a hush as they listened to instruction from their conductor.

The WKU Campus Community Concert Band is a campus and community-wide band made up of WKU students, alumni and Bowling Green community members looking for a place to play their instrument in an environment suited for all ages. Schallert said the ages of members range from 18 to 80.

He said the semester’s first rehearsal on Jan. 28 brought 43 people to sight read music to pick for the concert they share with the symphonic band. Non-music majors, music majors and community members are welcome to join.

Schallert said the music majors usually play a second or third instrument they don’t normally play in symphonic band or marching band.

“Most students are non-music majors,” he said. “Community members want some experience playing their instruments too, and this is a great opportunity to do that.”

The band typically has about 60 to 65 people each spring semester. Schallert said he expects attendance to grow within the coming weeks once current members spread the word to their friends and colleagues.

“It really is a fun group,” he said. “There’s no pressure. We play lots of music that is just enjoyable, like movie soundtrack medlies. We try to have a good time.”

Hailey Kozora, a freshman from Louisville, plays oboe in the band. She has been a member of the alto saxophone section in the Big Red Marching Band and performed in her high school’s concert band. She said she loves that she can play an instrument she’s passionate about.

“It’s a great group to begin to play any instrument you want,” she said. “It gets you away from a challenging college symphonic band and the rigor of marching band. I love that I get no judgement for being a beginner.”

She also said she enjoys playing with the older members.

“I think a band setting with those older in age can be pretty intimidating because it usually means more experience, but in reality, everyone is very accepting of one another” Kozora said.

The age diversity within the Campus Community band can be seen in each section during practice.

“You might have a college student sitting next to a grandma,” Schallert said.

Schallert said the band plays a variety of music, including movie, marching and orchestra pieces each spring.

“We try to pick music that we think the band members will enjoy,” Schallert said.

The spring concert will be held in Van Meter Hall on April 25 at 7:30 p.m.