A Drink at the Well

The very first concert of the Central Kentucky Concert Band was forty years ago this year. Dr. Peter Martin, one half of our very first dynamic pair of conductors, recently relayed to us a trial about the very first concert.

Half of our concerts each year are outdoors. We’re an outdoorsy bunch of band persons. That premiere concert was scheduled to be outdoors at Henry Clay’s Estate in Lexington. Outdoor concerts require a lot of toting, packing, and unpacking of heavy equipment. The weather was capricious that spring and after sunny skies were present all weekend after dire forecasts, the conditions of the day cast doubt on whether or not the concert would be al fresco.

After driving the loaded band equipment truck in circles in response to the worsening weather, band members wondering  about their final destination, the band persevered and performed the concert at Haggin Auditorium on Transylvania University’s campus. The band has enjoyed that venue for many years since then.

The very first concert was a labor of love.

Each concert since then has been a labor of love.

For each concert to happen, much must be arranged beforehand. Contracts must be signed. Money must be raised. Stages must be set. Music must be selected and distributed. Music must be practiced and translated from abstract dots on a page to harmonious, emotion-invoking stories. This process takes weeks of preparation. This doesn’t even count the years of training that conductors and musicians spend learning their craft.

We do this because we love music.

We do this because we love the communal aesthetic of making music together.

The music does not fall spontaneously from the skies as the rain did that very first concert. Each ounce must be drawn from the ground and carried up a hill.

Thank you for your support of the band and of our efforts, whether you be an audience member, a stage technician, a financial backer, a sponsor, a reception host, a musician, a conductor, a section leader, a composer, a band board member, or a family member.

Each of you has had a hand on the pump.

Each of you has carried a bucket up the hill.

Thank you for your labor of love.

See you next season!


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Posted by on July 15, 2016 in News


Study Says Sound Waves Can Increase Plant Growth; CKCB Says to Plants: Hang on to Your Petals!


Test Subjects, Not unlike the ones that will be at the Wallis House.

According to a study released in 2004 entitled, “Sound wave stimulation triggers the content change of the endogenous hormone of the Chrysanthemum mature callus,” (whew, what a title!) some very smart scientists actually determined that sound can make at least chrysanthemums grow. Just imagine what an entire band concert could do to the unsuspecting specimens!

Using a completely non-scientific method, the Central Kentucky Concert Band will see if these results can be replicated as the CKCB performs this Sunday, July 3rd, in Paris, Kentucky at the Wallis House (616 Pleasant Street)–home base of one of the band’s most beloved sponsors–the Garden Club of Kentucky. The experiment begins at 7:00 p.m. amid the beautiful gardens and grounds at the Wallis House and is free. The public is invited to bring some munchies and enjoy the show!

Casual dress. No lab coats required.



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Posted by on June 27, 2016 in News


CKCB Performs at the UK Arboretum!

The Central Kentucky Concert Band is delighted to be having its next performance at the UK Arboretum (500 Alumni Drive in Lexington) this Saturday, June 25th at 7:30 PM. The free performance is sponsored by its friends, the Friends of the Arboretum. Come enjoy an evening being serenaded by the band while surrounded by beautiful trees and gardens! Everyone is invited!

And, hey, did you know that trees and bands have some interesting things in common?


Top 5 Things Trees and Bands Have in Common:

(with apologies to certain late night talk show hosts)

Number 5: Trees are made of wood. The woodwinds in a band are made of–you guessed it–wood. Work with me on this.

Number 4:  Trees control noise pollution. Come on, we’re a band! We make beautiful music that blocks out objectionable urban noises.

Number 3: Trees slow storm water runoff. If you’ve ever been out at band camp marching in the rain, you know that enough band members slow down storm water runoff, too.

Number 2: Trees produce oxygen and “breathe” carbon dioxide. Bands produce carbon dioxide and breathe oxygen. A coincidence? I think not.

Number 1: Trees shade and cool. Band members are cool, too! Don’t disagree—you’re on a band website or FB group while reading this. So, well, you know.

So there you have it. Thanks for your support of the band! The band looks forward to seeing you Saturday!


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Posted by on June 22, 2016 in News


CKCB And Our Nation’s Veterans

US FlagThe CKCB regularly plays Bob Lowdon’s Armed Forces Salute which features The Caisson SongSemper ParatusThe Marines’ HymnThe U.S. Air Force, and Anchors Aweigh–the representative songs of the main branches of our military. As the band plays this, it usually invites veterans and members of each branch in the audience to stand when their service tune is played.

Several band members also stand during the selection.

At that moment perhaps there is a bit less performance going on in front of the audience for these members and perhaps a bit more connection with the audience than is possible with a different kind of selection. The shared aesthetic experience is accompanied by an element of shared experiences in service of our country.

And at its core, music is about sharing experiences, be they emotions, images, sounds, or life experiences.

How delighted and honored the band is to be performing for local veterans at the V.A. Medical Center at 2250 Leestown Road in Lexington on June 19 at 6:30 P.M. The veterans and the staff and volunteers at the center invite everyone to come join the CKCB at this free event on the stately grounds of the center.

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Posted by on June 5, 2016 in News


CKCB Hits The Great American Brass Band Festival!

The year was 1990, and that was the first year of the Great American Brass Band Festival. Started by George Foreman and Vince DiMartino, scenic Danville, with its history-steeped downtown and world-class Centre College, has hosted the festival all these many years.

The CKCB first participated in the festival in 2012, and this year marks its second invitation to the festival. The Great American Brass Band Festival is to a wind band what Valhalla is to a Viking!

Performances will be held in many locations, but CKCB will be on the Main Stage at Centre College at noon this Saturday, June 4. The Main Stage is bordered by West Walnut Street, West Main Street, and College Street. There is no charge for the concert.

The festival is way more than band concerts (which we love, of course). Food vendors will be pleased to ease hunger pangs, and kids will have plenty of activities to appeal to their creative sides. Check out a symposium, a gallery hop, a sophisticated tea, a balloon race, and…well you get the picture. There’ll be a lot going on!

Severinsen 2012 GABBF

Doc Severinsen was the featured performer in the 2012 GABBF. CKCB performed with him along with other area community bands in the festival finale.


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Posted by on June 1, 2016 in News


Get Ready For Our Summer Performances!

ckcb-2012-gabbf-smaller (1)So we concluded our blockbuster regular season with an exciting performance at the Lexington Opera House. But that doesn’t mean we’re done yet. We have four, yes, four more performances this summer! Check out our performance dates and venues below. As always, they’re free, and the public is invited and encouraged to attend! We’re so thankful for our hosts!

  • Saturday, June 4, Noon, “Great American Brass Band Festival” at Centre College in Danville (600 W Walnut St, Danville, KY 40422)
  • Sunday, June 19, 6:30 P.M., Leestown Rd. VA Hospital (2250 Leestown Rd. Lexington, KY 40511-1052)
  • Saturday, June 25, 7:30 P.M., UK Arboretum (500 Alumni Dr., Lexington, KY 40503)
  • Sunday, July 3, 7:00 P.M., Garden Club of Kentucky Picnic (616 Pleasant St, Paris, KY 40361)
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Posted by on May 17, 2016 in News


Thanks For A Lollapalooza Of A Season!

We concluded our regular season last Sunday with our world premiere of Sparke’s A Bluegrass Overture which was a blast! We’ve also had the privilege of including Adams’ Lollapalooza, Williams’ Symphonic Marches and Ives’ Country Band March in the mix among other fabulous selections. We have so enjoyed these band music literature masterpieces! What a wonderful season!

We are forever thankful for our sponsors, Friends of the Band, family members, and audience members all without whom we could not function! Thank you to our board members and other band members who selflessly assist when called upon without whom this operation would cease. Thank you to our friends at Transylvania University who give us a permanent home base and a lovely venue in which to perform that is staffed with gracious professionals; thank you to our friends at the Lexington Opera House and the Lexington Center who help us perform in that magnificent edifice; thank you to our conductor, Ben Hawkins, and associate conductor, Les Anderson, for bringing us challenging and rewarding music to play and for helping us to refine our musical aesthetic and the intellectual pursuit of music, and thank you to our fellow band members for their diligence in rehearsal, generosity of passing on musical knowledge, and for contributions toward musical and social community.

One last special note of thanks in our 40th year of making music goes to our founding conductors, Peter Martin and Dennis Van Horn, the conductors who have sustained our tradition, James Curnow, John Anderson, Les Anderson, Harry Clarke, and Pete LaRue, and our former members–those who are living and those who are no longer with us–as their contributions and spirit still resonate through the band’s consciousness.

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Posted by on May 12, 2016 in News


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