CKCB’s Next Performance: Sunday, March 4th

Sousa hasn’t cornered the market on marches. Of the ten or so marches we have planned for you, only one is by Sousa. Don’t get us wrong–Sousa is great. We love Sousa. But we also love the contemplative Trauermusik by Wagner, the grave March to the Scaffold by Berlioz, the jazzy, bouncy The March from “1941” by John Williams, and the dynamic finale to Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4. And we have more in store, too!

Come hear all the marches on Sunday, March 4th at 3:00 PM at Transylvania University’s Haggin Auditorium in the Mitchell Fine Arts Center.

It’s free. It’s fun. And all the marches are in 4/4 time–except when they’re in cut time. Or 6/8 time. Or in 1.

Sooo, let’s just say they all have time signatures.

Regardless, you’ll be tapping your feet in celebration of the marches.

Free admission; no tickets required.

2018 March 4th poster

Remembering Michael Bush

We are bound by the love of music. Of performing music. Of listening to music. Of thinking about music.

We are bound with each other by the bonds of music. Through this common bond, we develop relationships with each other that, initially, are founded on the common love of music, but are sustained through our humanity.

This summer, we were delighted to welcome Michael Bush to our community band–to our community. Michael’s hometown was Lexington, and he was taught  years ago by Les Anderson, one of our very own. Michael heeded the call of God and became a minister, recently appointed to Pisgah Presbyterian Church near Versailles, Kentucky. Michael learned about CKCB, and joined our tuba section. Quickly, Michael began contributing more than just his considerable musical talent, but in other ways, too, such as helping us update our constitution and bylaws. Michael joined a community band, but he also joined a community of band members.

This fall, Michael was called home to His side.

During Sunday’s concert, the band prayed a musical prayer for Michael and his family, as has become our custom when we lose a member in active standing with our band. Many of us knew Michael but for a moment, but his kindness, convictions of heart, and talent will continue to resonate with us.


Masters of Russian Musical Literature Featured at December Concert

CKCB poster December 2017
Fabulous poster art by CKCB member Jason Sturgill

Music is powerful. But can you imagine a time and a place where composing  a musical piece could jeopardize your and your family’s life?

That’s the position Dmitri Shostakovich found himself in after receiving criticism from no less than Joseph Stalin himself for writing music that didn’t comport with the official state musical tastes.

Shostakovich’s next work couldn’t anger the management again, and likely had to satisfy them. Fortunately, he succeeded with the Fifth Symphony. And fortunately for us, we have that symphony accessible to us in today’s world.

Central Kentucky Concert Band Conductor Dr. Ben Hawkins says of Shostakovich, “Perhaps more than any of his other pieces, the Fifth has come to represent Shostakovich’s lifelong struggle to walk the fine line between staying in the good graces of Stalin while composing music that did not compromise his great personal integrity. Few, if any, musicians in any age have worked in constant peril the way that Shostakovich did.”

Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 Finale will be a featured selection in the band’s next concert.

Says Hawkins, “I would guess that the Shostakovich Fifth is one of the ten or so most performed symphonies. It may be the most-performed 20th-century symphony, although one of the Mahler symphonies may very well claim that position. At any rate, its place in the standard orchestral repertoire is written in stone.”

In addition to Shostakovich, the band will be featuring several other Russian composers’ music. When asked what about the Russian composers attracted Hawkins to program the entire primary block of the program with their music, he says, “I like the Russians because they have a way of writing really engaging melodies, and because they all, even the most Western-influenced, bring certain melodic and harmonic inflections that distinguish their sounds from German music in particular, but even from the French tradition that did provide an important influence. One can almost always hear Russian folk coloring, and especially the great choral tradition of the Orthodox Church.”

Alexander Goedicke, another of the Russian composers featured in the upcoming concert, was a lauded pianist, composer (who had no formal training in composition), and professor at the Moscow Conservatory. The band will perform Goedicke’s Concert Etude featuring the band’s very own principal trumpet player T.J. Thomas as soloist.

Thomas, a native Kentuckian, attended the University of Kentucky on scholarship and

TJ Thomas
T.J. Thomas at a recent CKCB rehearsal

received his Bachelors of Arts in Music in 2005 and his Masters in Music Performance two years later in 2007. Thomas enlisted in the United States Army and played with the Army Ground Forces Band in Atlanta as well as the 100th Army Band out of Fort Knox, Kentucky.

The Concert Etude is a piece that demands precision to execute it properly–there is no slack allowed.

Speaking of the technical aspects of the solo passages of the Concert Etude, Thomas says, “The double-tonguing requires precision and careful coordination with your fingers as well as the band.  Also, it is important that the articulation remain light and not get too heavy in the main melody, otherwise the lyrical section will feel out of place. However, it is a fun piece to play, and like most music, it is more fun the faster you go!”

CKCB has many talented players in it and is delighted to have Thomas among them. Thomas has been a member of the band for around 8 years. Says Thomas, “I enjoy performing with CKCB because it provides an outlet to perform some pretty interesting and exciting music that we may not otherwise have experienced.  I have also made some lifelong friends in CKCB and that, to me, is equally as important as the music.”

Hear the band perform Shostakovich, Goedicke, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, and more at Haggin Auditorium in the Mitchell Fine Arts Center, Transylvania University, at 3 PM on Sunday, December 3rd, 2017. There is no cost for admission, and no tickets are required.



CKCB 2017-2018 Season

Russian Masters of Music. March Fo(u)rth. Tribute to Bernstein.

There it is. Our primary concert season expressed in nine words, but so much music is behind those nine words.

On December 3rd, we’ll present Tchaikovsky, Kabalevsky, Shostakovitch, Rimsky-Korsakov, and others in a program that will range from gorgeous harmonies, stately melodies, to rhythms  that will make you dance in your seat. 

CKCB Dramatic B&W RussiaAfter our Russian concert, the calendar flips and so will you as we March Fo(u)rth into 2018. We will salute the masters of the march in that March 4th (see what we did there?) concert.

CKCB Dramatic B&W March2018 marks the 100th birthday of Leonard Bernstein. His compelling melodies and harmonies have graced many stages, the airwaves, and music collections for decades. We’re paying tribute to Mr. Bernstein on May 6 at the Lexington Opera House–perhaps a most fitting venue to present this master of musical theater.

CKCB Dramatic B&W BernsteinOur concerts will all be at 3 PM in the afternoon and as always there is no admission charge or tickets required.

Check back here and on our FB page for updates to each concert.

In Anticipation: An Exploration of the Potentiality of Doing

You feel its brassy stare across the room.

Behind the closet door.

Under some wrapping paper.

Next to an empty gift bag.

You know it’s there. Sitting. Waiting.

Right where you left it when you moved, or graduated, or had not enough free time.

You’ve been thinking about it lately:

How great you felt;

The camaraderie, that unity of purpose, that social interaction.

You spent years learning.

You think of  your teachers–

So many.

So much joy.

So much satisfaction.

A compulsion manifests: you feel its gravity pulling you toward the closet door.

Open the door; see it.

Open the case; look at it in its static beauty. Hear choruses of Case in Closet

angels singing. Rays of light emanate from it.

Close the case, pick it up, and grab the keys to your car.

Put the case in your car and drive it to Mitchell Fine Arts Center at Transylvania University.

It’s September 7, 2017, 7:30 PM. Walk up the stairs to the band room.

Open the case. Assemble it.

Walk over to where you see others.

Sit with them. Make music with them.

Join the band.

Feel great about yourself.

Join us! The Central Kentucky Concert Band resumes rehearsals on September 7, 2017, at 7:30 PM.  The band meets in the band room of Mitchell Fine Arts Center at Transylvania University in Lexington. It will host 3 open rehearsals on September 7th, 14th, and 21st. All adult musicians are enthusiastically invited, but a special invitation is extended to clarinets and low brass. Find more details about joining here.


Shhh…The Band is Sleeping!


water-music-2016-posterWe had a great time performing this Summer and regular season, but now it’s time for us to catch some “Zs” in order to be ready to begin our 2017-2018 performance season.

We’re dreaming of the great selections we played this year: Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A Minor, performed beautifully by our special guest artist Dr. Gregory Partain; Percy Grainger’s Lincolnshire Posy, Country Gardens, and The Duke of Marlborough Fanfare; Francis McBeth’s Of Sailors and Whales, Gershwin’s Humoresque on Swanee; Rogers’ South Pacific Symphonic Scenario; Husa’s Music for Prague 1968; Williams’ Band of Brothers;
Anderson’s Bugler’s Holiday; and many others.

We’re also dreaming of our great sponsors and hosts we had this year: our Friends of the Band, the Friends of the Arboretum, the Stephen Foster Music Club, and the Frankfort Arts Foundation. We’re dreaming of our wonderful venues: our home base, Transylvania University; the Lexington Opera House; Kentucky State University; UK Arboretum; and Bardstown Community Park.

We are fortunate to have such sweet dreams and would love to share them with you! How?


  • Come to our concerts–they’re free! Our audiences are so important to us–we love it when our music brings back (or makes, for that matter) a great memory, brings out an emotion, or inspires  current or future musicians. Music is a powerful art and can do all these things and more!
  • BE a sponsor of our band or become a Friend of the Band.
  • Join the band! Yes, YOU! We invite all adult musicians to join. We meet Thursdays at  the band room in Transylvania University’s Mitchell Fine Arts Center at 7:30 PM and practice until 9:30. We’ll be resuming rehearsals September 7 where we’ll have three open rehearsals for you to check us out. While all instrumentalists are invited, we especially invite clarinets and low brass.

So thanks for your support be it financial, musical, or logistical. Check back here for updates as we get closer to resuming rehearsals for the next season.

CKCB poster May 2017