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North Okaloosa Community Band performs spring concert

CRESTVIEW — The North Okaloosa Community Band performed their spring concert at Warriors Hall on Monday night.

The performance included a few upbeat folk pieces and music from "The Avengers."

The band was formed in 2016 when Lee Emerson approached Shoal River Middle School’s band director, Kim Whaley.

“He worked at Upbeat Music at the time and occasionally people would come acquiring if there was a community band,” said Whaley. “Enough people did this that he said, ‘Why don’t we start one?’”

Emerson spoke with Mayor David Cadle about the idea. After deciding to start the band, Emerson asked Whaley if the band could use Shoal River’s band room and Whaley agreed.

The band now has around 40 members, but anyone is welcome to join. Whaley said there is no audition. If someone is interested in joining, they just need to show up to practice.

“We rehearse every Monday night from 6:30-8 and it’s for anybody that’s ever played an instrument,” said Whaley. “We have people as young as middle school all the way to our oldest player, who is about 85 years old.”

Whaley said one of her favorite things about the band is the family aspect of it.

“We have a dad that plays with his three daughters in the band,” said Whaley. “We’ve had grandmas play with their grandsons. We’ve got a mom-and-son combo. We’ve got a lot of family combinations, which is really special.”

The band consists of many different instruments including flutes, clarinets, saxophones and trumpets.

Nancy Enfinger and Erica Wise have both been with the band since the beginning.

Enfinger, a baritone saxophone player, said she was nervous when she joined because it had been 38 years since she played, but she was glad she did.

“It’s enjoyable,” said Enfinger. “Sometimes I don’t wanna go. You know after work, you’re tired or whatever and you don’t want to do it. After I go, I’m glad I went because it’s really fun.”

Wise, a flutist, joined the band because it was close to home.

“I had played in other community bands in Fort Walton and found out that this one had started up and said I’m joining cause it’s right here in town,” said Wise.

Wise, who now plays in both the North Okaloosa and Fort Walton community bands, said she really enjoys being able to communicate with other musicians.

Whaley said one thing that makes the band special is that — like Enfinger and Wise — everyone in the band wants to be there.

“This is just kind of a release for them, a fun thing for them to do," she said. “It’s just a way for people to come together and we’ve made a lot of friends. To share through music is really unique."

The band’s next performance will be a patriotic concert on July 4.

This article originally appeared on Crestview News Bulletin: North Okaloosa Community Band performs spring concert