Fresno Community Concert Band. Sharing the joy of music.
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Meet the Band
Image of Clarinet on Sheet Music

An Outlet for Musicians. A Gift to the Community.

The Fresno Community Concert Band was founded in October 1993 after a yearlong planning process by its organizers. Conceived as an organization that would provide an outlet for the many amateur and retired professional musicians in that area, the band now boasts 80 players representing a wide range of age and occupation. All are former high school or college band members.

The band's mission, besides providing a performance opportunity, is to perform the very best in classical and pops band literature in as many different venues as possible attracting large and diverse audiences. The Fresno Community Concert Band is unique in its mission. No other band like it exists in the area, and because of its professionalism and the dedication of its leaders and members, it will continue to present exciting concerts in the concert band tradition providing a substantial service to the community.

Robert Nielsen and Larry Huck served as Co-Conductors of the band from its

inception in 1993 until 2003 when Mr. Huck retired. Robert Nielsen remains as sole conductor. For its first performance on February 3, 1994, where both men conducted, the band played to a standing room only audience in the Fresno City College Theatre. Following this first successful concert, the band has expanded its performances each season to include concerts in The Tower Theatre for the Performing Arts, appearances at the California Music Educators Convention, Ontario, CA, the Civil War Reenactment, participation in the CSU, Fresno Wind Festival, broadcasts by MediaOne, participation in the Sacramento Band Festival and outreach concerts in neighboring communities, including concerts in Merced, Kingsburg, Sanger and Caruthers. The band has also performed special outdoor concerts in the Rotary Amphitheatre in Woodward Park in Fresno.

Having achieved non-profit status, the band is governed by an eight-member Board of Directors. The first President of the organization was Paul W. Heath, Vice-President of Murphy Bank, who now serves as the band's

Treasurer. Matt Roberts begins his first term as president. All administrative duties are performed by band members and other volunteers.

The Fresno Community Concert Band is generously sponsored by Murphy Bank and Fresno City College, both of which have supported the band since its inception. Additional support comes from various individuals and businesses along with band members themselves. Emotional support is provided by audience members applauding wildly at the conclusion of each concert.


Image of Conductor Robert Nielsen

Conductor Robert Nielsen

Keeps the Music Playing

Image of Conductor Robert Nielsen

Robert Nielsen, one of the founders of the Fresno Community Concert Band, served as co-conductor of the band until 2003 when, upon the retirement of Larry Huck, he was appointed sole conductor. Since the band's first concert, he has also served as its always informative and sometimes witty narrator!

Mr. Nielsen began his teaching career at Irwin Junior High (Computech) and soon moved to Reedley College conducting both concert and jazz bands and teaching Music History and Theory. He joined the faculty at Fresno City College in 1978 teaching Music Theory, History,

Composition and Brass and served as Music Department Chair from 1989 until his retirement in 2001.

As a trumpet player, Mr. Nielsen has appeared with many bands and shows in Fresno, Reno, NV and Lake Tahoe. Orchestral work included 20 years as Principal Trumpet in the Bear Valley Music Festival Orchestra and 44 seasons with the Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra, 29 of those as Principal Trumpet. He retired from the Fresno Philharmonic in 2000.

As a published composer and arranger, Mr. Nielsen's works are performed throughout the world most recently by the Philharmonie der Nationen. He has also arranged or composed works specifically for the Fresno Community Concert Band and for the CSUF

Wind Ensemble.

Mr. Nielsen was founding Music Director of Good Company Players, conductor of Fresno Community Theatre productions and for the old Fresno Opera.

Since his retirement from teaching, Mr. Nielsen continues to compose and arrange music. He also continues his love of teaching and conducting by adjudicating and serving as a part-time instructor at Fresno City College teaching Conducting, Music Appreciation and Composition.


Image of Band Members

Band Personnel * Section Leader

Piccolo
  Julie Constable - CSUF Biologist
Flute
  Sandra Bolster - Music Teacher, FUSD
  Marissa Clay - Freelance Musician/Private Instructor
  Julie Constable - CSUF Biologist
  Laurie Harmon - Planetarium Assistant
  Sandy Headrick - Music Teacher, CUSD
* Irene Klug Nielsen - Retired Arts Management
  Susan Mencarini - Optometrist
  Lisa Poole - Science Teacher
  Elaine Sherry - Retired Teacher
Oboe
* Betty Higdon - English Instructor Retired
  Kathleen Mattox - Artist
Clarinet
  Maria Contreras - Bilingual Instr. Aide
  Amanda Ginn - Preschool Teacher
  Laura Hamill - Clinical Systems Analyst
  Anne Hendrickson - Music Teacher
  Cheri Keller - Gottschalk Music Center
  Clyde Lansing - Firefighter
  Jennifer Levy - Registered Nurse
  Susan Nelson - Office Manager
  Susie Pickrell Hoberg - Ret. Reading Specialist
  William Podolsky - Physician
  Philip Scambia - Music Teacher
  Janice Sereda - Teacher
  Cynthia Tilghman - Music Teacher, FUSD
* D'Arcy Weinberger - Music Teacher
  Jane Wimer - Computer Resource
  Diego Zarate - Music Teacher
Alto Clarinet/Contra-Bass Clarinet
  Tracy Lewellen - Food Service Aide
Bass Clarinet
  Joni Bishop - Teacher/Musician
  Kevin Calvin- Music Teacher
Bassoon
  Michael Krikorian - Music Teacher
* Betty Snyder - Retired Educator
Alto Saxophone
* Alan Moffett - Music Teacher
  Marco Paim - Music Teacher
Tenor Saxophone
  Becky Nissila - Health Care
  Carolee Richardson - Office Clerk
  Orville Stephenson - Music Teacher
Baritone Saxophone
Randy Morris - KFSR, 90.7 FM
Horn
  Eric R. Gratz - Retired
* Barry J. Holm - Banker
  Roy Mattox - Musician
  Deborah Uhrich - Purchasing
Trumpet
  Edward Areyano - Retired U.S. Army
  Jim Brown - Retired
  Leonard Contreras - Machinist
  Eric Cymanski - Music Teacher, CUSD
  Cheryl Faulkner - Inventory Mgr.
  Tony Luna - Music Teacher, CUSD
* Dan Pena - HS Band Director
  Peter van der Paardt - Music Teacher, CUSD
Trombone
  Dave Barber - Teacher
  Steve Becker - Mechanical Engineer
  John Hackney - Music Teacher
  Darryl Harmon – Music Teacher
  Doug Richardson - Deputy Sheriff
  Matthew Roberts - Teacher
* Eric Sherbon - Recording Engineer
  JR Tanaleon - Band Director
Euphonium
  Hugh Adams
  Jeff Bilden - Retired Music Educator
  Connor Habib - Music Inst. Repair
  Paul Heath - Vice Pres., Murphy Bank
  Joe Lamb - Retired
Tuba
  Richard Douty - Musician
  Doug Mayer - Structural Engineer
  Bill Nelson - Truck Driver
* Harry Siverly - Musical Inst. Repair
  Donald Thornton - Musician/Brewer
String Bass
  Archie Rader - Retired
Percussion
  Charles Barber - Owner, Caruthers Pump Co.
  Keith Edwards - Music Teacher, FUSD
  Tracy Lewellen - Food Service Aide
  Joe Lizama - Professional Musician
  Eric Myers - Blogger
  Tammy van der Paardt - Music Teacher
  Bruce Weinberger - Music Teacher
Staff
  Elaine Sherry - Music Librarian
  Tracy Lewellen - Stage Manager

Board of Directors

  • Sandi Bolster, President
  • Harry Siverly, Vice President, Logistics
  • Lisa Poole , Secretary
  • Paul W. Heath, Treasurer
  • Elaine Sherry, Band Librarian
  • Sandy Headrick
  • Susie Pickrell Kuhlmann
  • Joe Lizama
  • Irene Klug Nielsen
  • Matthew Roberts
  • Cynthia Tilghman
  • Peter van der Paardt, Publicity
  • D’Arcy Weinberger
Conductor Robert Nielsen

A Message from the Conductor –

It has been my honor and pleasure to conduct the Fresno Community Concert Band for the past twenty-four seasons, and it is with pride and some sadness that I announce my retirement at the end of this coming season. I will conduct my final concert on May 27, 2018.

I have seen this wonderful concert band grow from a very small ensemble in 1993 to the 75-piece concert band it is today. Not only have we grown in numbers, we have grown in artistic quality as the band has demonstrated through its performances of the last few seasons. I have been able to program more and more difficult music, and as I'm sure everyone will agree, the band has risen to the challenge. We measure our success not only by our personal satisfaction but more by your, our audience members', comments and applause. The response from all of you has been so supportive and appreciative. We cannot thank you enough.

The band is filled with some of our finest musicians – some professionals, some retired professionals and many exceptional amateurs. We come together to make music in that great American tradition of the concert band. I am truly proud of what these musicians have accomplished and am grateful for the opportunity to serve as their conductor.

I will miss working with these talented musicians and enjoying the camaraderie we share. But I know the band will carry on under new Co-Conductors Sandy Headrick and Bruce Weinberger. Both are longtime band members and both come from an extensive public school music teaching experience. I know they will share that experience with the Fresno Community Concert Band. They begin this season as Associate Conductors while I complete my final season and will assume artistic leadership of the band at the beginning of the 2018-2019 season. I wholeheartedly support them and will be in the audience for every concert.

This season promises to be one of our best featuring varied themes and repertoire. We are also including solo appearances from some of our finest members plus two of our favorite vocalists. Nothing would make me happier than to see you all in your seats for this season's concerts – and don't forget to bring friends!

With heartfelt appreciation,

Robert Nielsen

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