Rosemount Community Band to play Holiday Concert at The Well
The music of the holidays is a source of joy for many.
While that joy can be experienced in one’s living room, it’s even better when sharing the familiar sounds of the season with others.
That’s the goal of the Rosemount Community Band when it plays its Holiday Concert at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5, at The Well, 14770 Canada Ave. in Rosemount. The RAVE Brass Band will open the concert at 3:30 p.m.
The free concert will feature timeless Christmas tunes, along with some surprises, as the band celebrates its first performance of its 10th season.
While the COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of some performances and made rehearsing more challenging, nearly all of the band’s members have remained with the group through the difficult past year and half.
When asked what it was like for the band’s first in-person rehearsal in April this year, band director John Zschunke said: “It was just like medicine. It feels so good to be together. The power of music, that’s what it is.”
Zschunke, who is band instructor at Rosemount Middle School, said he joked with the group that “getting the band back together” was like living out the famous line from the “Blue Brothers.”
Even though he likes to keep the mood light, Zschunke, who has been teacher for 44 years, knows there is something deeper about the role of community bands.
“Once we start playing, you can sense the community of the band,” he said. “It’s special.”
Zschunke said it’s similar to a sports team that has so much fun together when playing that the crowd can see it and they love it too.
“The feeling is magical,” he said. “It is something the human spirit desires.”
He said live music is important to experience, noting that he was recently wrapped up in the emotions it can generate when seeing the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra perform for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
“People have missed it and yearned for it,” Zschunke said. “You don’t know how much you needed it until you experience it.”
The band has held its weekly Holiday Concert rehearsals that started in mid-October at the Rosemount Community Center. It provided a larger space than the Rosemount Middle School band room so the 55-member group could spread out. The band has also been using special music masks and covers over the open wind instruments.
“It’s worked well,” said Zschunke. “People feel comfortable doing it.”
This won’t be the first time the band has played in 2021. It offered its Spring Concert, which was very well attended, outdoors at The Well.
“That was like rain water on dry ground,” Zschunke said. “Everyone, they all enjoyed it so much.”
In past years, the band has played its Holiday Concert at the Steeple Center, but the The Well offers a larger space for band and audience members to spread out.
In addition to the music, Chuck Brooks, a retired longtime English teacher at Rosemount High School, will recite “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” by Clement Moore. The band will provide different sound effects to enhance the mood.
“They are anxious and ready to go,” Zschunke said.
The Rosemount Community Band was founded 10 years ago with the idea that it would accept members of all skill levels. That has led to attracting members with a wide range of backgrounds and ages – from their 20s to their 80s. Such a range of ages and abilities allows people to learn from one another and be inspired to learn more.
Some of the band members can’t get enough of playing together, and as a result two groups have formed as spin-offs. Genesis Jazz Orchestra has played in venues across the metro area for the past several years, and the RAVE brass group recently formed.
Music isn’t the only thing the band is giving back to the community.
Admission to the concert is free, but attendees are asked to bring nonperishable food or items for the child care center at The Well.
“It is something to make the community better and satisfy needs in the community,” Zschunke said.
More information about the band is at rosemountcommunityband.org.
Tad Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.