2015 Open Rehearsals

The Central Kentucky Concert Band, its conductor Dr. Ben Hawkins and assistant conductor Les Anderson, are pleased to announce open rehearsals beginning on Thursday, September 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the band room at Transylvania University’s Mitchell Fine Arts Center, 300 North Broadway, Lexington Kentucky. Instrumentalists are invited to come play with the band on September 10th, 17th, and the 24th upon which date they’ll be invited to audition upon the conclusion of rehearsal. Instrumentalists representing all sections are welcome. French horn players, trombonists, and percussionists are especially invited.

The Central Kentucky Concert Band presents three regular season concerts during the year, and presents a summer concert series amid some of the most scenic locations in Kentucky. The band is a member of the Association of Concert Bands of America and LexArts. The ensemble has been performing in the Central Kentucky area since 1976 and includes in its membership persons who are educators, engineers, government employees, entrepreneurs, healthcare providers, musicians, as well as many other diverse careers, all of whom are united in their love of the musical performing arts.

CKCB Rehearsal

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Posted by on August 5, 2015 in News


July 11 Concert at UK Arboretum

Once upon a time, before unlimited smart phone connectivity, before Facebook, before television, before radio, people used to gather and entertain themselves. No amplifiers, no conglomerate rock music publishers, no processed, target-demographic-marketed, scientifically-selected mass media fed into your brain as if one were being fattened like a Thanksgiving turkey.

This Saturday at 7:30 PM at the Arboretum State Botanical Garden of Kentucky in Lexington (on Alumni Drive, but use Tates Creek Road to get there because of construction) the Central Kentucky Concert Band will be presenting an hour’s worth of musical respite.

Gregory Stepp, Guest Conductor

Gregory Stepp, Guest Conductor

The band is brought to you by the courtesy of its friends, the Friends of the Arboretum. The band concludes its Summer Concert Series under the fine direction of its guest conductor, Chief Warrant Officer Gregory Stepp, the conductor of the 202nd Army Band of the National Guard.

Amid the hundred acres of emerald trees and grass that is the Arboretum, bathed in the copper-golden light of the setting sun, the band will present an entertaining mix of patriotic and popular music. It’s totally analog. It’s totally unplugged. No amplifiers. No social media. Just sixty or so people playing their horns out of nothing more than the love of music.

And for additional kicks, bring your kids. The band’s rejection of electronics is practically subversive in its embracing of good, old-fashioned values and entertainment. Your kids won’t know what to think. It’ll be hilarious.

Here’s my challenge to you: Come listen. That’s all you have to do to claim some “you” time. Come. Listen. It is that easy. No admission charge, bring your own blanket or chairs, and enjoy!

–CKCB PR director Mark Mitchell

CKCB @ UK Arboretum

CKCB @ UK Arboretum

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Posted by on July 7, 2015 in Concerts & Events, News


July 5 concert, Paris, KY

I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine:
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lull’d in these flowers with dances and delight

Shakespeare, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

Come thou, good fellows, to Titania’s bower
where oxlips and violets do thrive.
A concert we bring you, a musical shower,
Is fixed close, but a few minutes’ drive.

‘Tis Paris I speak of, in this faux ‘Liz-bethan beat.
Our sponor, our champion,and our host for the night
is the Garden Club of Kentucky, 616 Pleasant Street
(down that way and just to the right).

Come You: bring friends, bring family, bring strangers and hear
Our faire band play sweet, dulcet notes,
This fifth day of July–this very good year.
Bring food, bring blankets and bring them in totes!

The music shall gush from trumpet and horn
The seventh hour past Noon (but not in the morn).
Pray what cost shall you bear for our sweet musicality?
Absolutely nothing, there’s no admission; it’s free!

[Modern-English translation:  Free outdoor concert!  Sunday, July 5, 7 PM at the Wallis Arboretum, Garden Club of Kentucky, Paris, KY]



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Posted by on June 29, 2015 in Concerts & Events, News


June 14 Outdoor Concert


Q: When was Flag Day first recognized?
A: August 3, 1949, where it was designated by Congress under the urging of President Harry S. Truman to be held on June 14 each year.

Q: Who is going to be in concert at the Lexington Veterans Affairs Medical Center 2250 Leestown Road on June 14 at 4:00 PM?
A: The Central Kentucky Concert Band!

Q: Who is invited and how much will it cost?
A: Everybody, and admission is free!

I’m going to bet you did pretty well on the quiz! So as a reward, bring your favorite blanket or lawn chair to the Lexington VA Medical Center grounds and join the Central Kentucky Concert Band and our honored veterans on June 14, Flag Day, at 4 PM for a great afternoon of music. The band will be set up in front of Building 27. The band will be presenting a great mix of tunes that will include perhaps the most beautiful arrangement there is of “America the Beautiful,” as well as “Armed Forces Salute,” selections from “Oklahoma!,” a little Gershwin, and many more!

For a PDF map of the venue, including parking location, see this link: VAmap

Please bring your own lawn chair or a blanket. In case of rain, the concert will be held in the auditorium in building #4, which is on the opposite side of the campus from #27.

Post by CKCB PR Director, Mark Mitchell

Flickr user thecitysurfer

Photo by Flickr user thecitysurfer:

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Posted by on June 8, 2015 in News


Summer Concert Series 2015

Have you ever noticed how much better food tastes outdoors like at a picnic? Music is the same way! Trust me on this. With that in mind, after an incredibly successful regular season the Central Kentucky Concert Band is pleased to announce the commencement of its Summer Concert Series. This series always features a great variety of musical genres from patriotic to popular to include some classical and jazzy selections. The band will open the season on June 14 at 4 p.m. at the Lexington Veterans Medical Center grounds 2250 Leestown Road where it will give a little back to our veterans who have given so much to us.

The series will continue on July 5th at 7 p.m. where the band will be the guest of the Garden Club of Kentucky which is always a great time! Come see the band at the exquisitely manicured gardens of the historic Wallis House, 616 Pleasant Street in beautiful Paris that day.

Concluding their series for the summer, the band will be sponsored by the Friends of the Arboretum and will perform al fresco in the midst of the gently rolling hundred acres of the University of Kentucky’s Arboretum on July 11 at 7:30 p.m. (NOTE new time for July 11 concert!)  Please note that while Alumni Drive is under construction you can get to the Arboretum from Alumni Drive on the Tates Creek side.

The band’s conductor, Ben Hawkins, and associate conductor, Les Anderson, will be leading the band on June 14 and will head out for much-deserved vacations afterward. In their place, the band is excited to welcome Chief Warrant Officer Gregory Stepp, the conductor of the 202nd Army Band of the National Guard as guest conductor for the July concerts. HOOAH! Welcome, CWO Stepp!

As always, the band’s concerts are free and open to all!


—Mark Mitchell, CKCB PR Manager

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Posted by on May 19, 2015 in Concerts & Events, News


Concert May 3, Lexington Opera House


H. Owen Reed was a champion of band repertoire. In 1948 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. Intent on writing the first symphony for band, he drew on his experiences from his travels to Mexico where he visited Mexico City,  Chapala and Cuernavaca immersing himself in the musical culture he found in such places as cathedrals and bullfight arenas. The symphony he wrote from those experiences was “La Fiesta Mexicana.”

Please join us for our next concert! Sunday, May 3, Lexington Opera House, 3 PM.  Admission is free.

Please join us for our next concert! Sunday, May 3, Lexington Opera House, 3 PM. Admission is free.

Flash forward to the 1990s where Ben Hawkins, the current conductor of the Central Kentucky Concert Band, began travelling to Mexico to such cities as Mexico City and Cuernavaca in a musical outreach program to assist in musical instruction and instrument repair. Hawkins, too, was immersed in the musical culture that Reed experienced.

Says Hawkins, “My experience was that virtually every Mexican I met was a musician, including those who weren’t involved in the classes I was teaching. Music-making seemed to me to be a far more integral part of the ‘average’ Mexican’s life than is true here.”

When asked if in his travels Hawkins heard the same musical influences as did Reed, Hawkins replied, “I don’t have the expertise to discern the musical styles of one region of Mexico from another, in the way that Reed must have experienced them. But in a general way the sounds of his piece ring true to me based on my own travels.”

Hawkins replied when asked about the rewards of his travels to Mexico, “The single most significant reward to me was the overwhelming warmth, hospitality and gratitude that the people showed us. It was like that every time, in every town.”

Flash forward to 2015 where the Central Kentucky Concert Band is performing “La Fiesta Mexicana” in its upcoming concert at the Lexington Opera House at 3 PM on Sunday, May 3rd. Way back in the euphonium section is Dr. Earle Louder, retired Distinguished Professor Emeritus of euphonium and tuba from Morehead State University, who has performed with the band several times and has been a member of the band for two seasons. Dr. Louder was a student and band member at Michigan State University when H. Owen Reed was teaching there. Reed had his college band premiere “La Fiesta Mexicana” and Dr. Louder was there.

Says Louder, “As a student, I was in awe while in his presence. He was a quiet-spoken man who knew his business thoroughly. He, also, was a very personable human being who would put you at ease while carrying on a conversation with you.”

Regarding the premiere performance of “La Fiesta Mexicana,” Louder said, “In my opinion, the first performance of ‘La Fiesta Mexicana’ was well received and I felt honored to be a part of that performance.”

“I, personally, think La Fiesta Mexicana is a wonderful piece especially for concert band literature. I, again, personally, think that Dr. Reed had in mind the ‘larger symphonic band’ as the ensemble for this composition. This allows very large to very small ensembles within the entire band to set a variety of sounds imitating the various impromptu gatherings of the peoples of Mexico.”

In the Michigan band, Louder recalled some of Reed’s direction: “I do remember one of his, at the time, unique instructions. It kind of reminded me of the way a performer should look at playing jazz rhythms. His instructions, for the Aztec Dance and the Carnival [two of the  three movements in the selection], were not to play the inherent rhythms strictly ‘mathematically and rhythmically’ correct, but rather to feel the dance like rhythms within each measure and be sure to meet together on the bar line. In other words, ‘don’t be stiff, feel the rhythms.’”

Who knew that one day, two countries, two bands, two states, and two persons would be linked in such a unique and unexpected manner?

Admission to the concert is free.

The Central Kentucky Concert Band was formed in 1976 and is an outlet for adult musicians in the Central Kentucky region to play with an ensemble. Based at Transylvania University, the band performs three concerts each year along with an outdoor concert series throughout central Kentucky. It has received financial support from LexArts and private contributions and is a member of the Association of Concert Bands of America, Inc.

Post by Mark Mitchell, CKCB PR Director

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Posted by on April 28, 2015 in News


Save the Date!

Save the date for CKCB’s next concert on May 3rd at 3:00 pm at the Lexington Opera House. Among other selections by giants of music literature, the band will be performing Aaron Copland’s “The Promise of Living” which is out of his epic opera “The Tender Land”. Erik Johns, under the pen name Horace Everett, crafted the lyrics of “The Promise of Living.” And while they center on a harvest, the term “harvest” itself has metaphorical implications for the band experience.

By working together we’ll bring in the blessings of harvest.
We plant each row with seeds of grain,
And Providence sends us the sun and the rain.
By lending a hand, by lending an arm
Bring out the blessings of harvest.

During each rehearsal, we, as band members, through practice and performance, tend our rows, planting them with seeds of grain and weeding them. Our fellow band mates, leaders, and family, in their role of fellow musicians and supporters, respectively, are extensions of Providence which sends us the sun and the rain, so together as a community we can bring out the blessings of harvest.

The promise of living, the promise of growing
The promise of ending is labor and sharing and loving.

With the commencement of each new concert cycle with new friends and with old friends, we renew the communal experience of playing our instruments. We, with our minds, our hands, and our spirits, experience the promise of living and the promise of growing through our mutual love of the labor of making music.


Image by Flickr user anthony posey.

[Post by CKCB PR Manager, Mark Mitchell]

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Posted by on April 14, 2015 in News


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