Hundreds of America’s tiny main streets sit silent most nights, decades since the days when small farm-based communities thrived. Before the days of satellite dishes and paved back roads, ranchers and farmers, often self-taught, made music amid the isolation of their lifestyle. Impromptu jam sessions occurred on bales in hay barns and on benches in barber shops, or wherever such musicians might meet.
Before the first music, locals visited to talk about the heat, gardens and to pass condolences. People came with their own picnics, chairs, news and looked for friends so they could catch up with each other. Before the music, many ate traditional fried catfish dinners at the cafe, then shopped in an adjoining gift shop for locally made art and candy. Many others made their favorite picnic meals, came with ice water, blankets and real plates and silver service.
Homemade jellies were in demand, especially with such unique flavors as dandelion, root beer and moonshine. The latter lists “really bad cheap white wine” as the main ingredient.
Some visitors wandered down the street after dining at the more opulent Grand Central Hotel. Others first hiked the trails at the nearby Parks, shops and attractions.
Many locals see music nights as another attraction to support the town’s fledgling tourist industry. People over 50 remember that crowds were drawn to the music. After nearly 40 years we find that tradition gone.
A small group of us decided to bring back that tradition, and to encourage the youth of our Vancouver community to join us in rebuilding that tradition. We welcome youth members who have progressed to a second method book, we also have seniors who played in their high school band decades ago, took their instruments to the music store, got the instruments working again, and now look up fingerings and complain about sore lips, fingers and notes that are way too small.
Providing a variety of music, we find crowds contain a traditional core group of listeners.
The Vancouver Community Band strives to preserve and promote the foundations and history of American Community Band Music from the early 1800s to present.
New musicians are welcome to the Vancouver Community Band.