The Waunakee Community Band (WCB) was founded in 1985. The WCB is primarily a summer band, with rehearsals starting in April and the concert season from June through August. In addition, a Holiday Concert or Winter Concert is presented every other year, and the band participates in local celebrations throughout the year.
The band is directed by its founder, Janet M. Tweed. Mrs. Tweed was an instrumental music instructor in the Waunakee Community Schools from 1969 through 1993, and was a Program Associate with the Wisconsin School Music Association for eleven years following retirement. She remains active in both the school music program and the WSMA.
The band has grown from the 30 original members to a membership of between 90 and 100 members. Musicians from all ages are encouraged to participate. In the 2011 concert series, the youngest player was 14 and the oldest was 80. Families are encouraged to participate, and the membership has included many whole and partial families. The band is a completely volunteer group. The band considers itself a service organization in and for the Village of Waunakee and surrounding communities.
The group is supported by donations from clubs, businesses, individuals, and professional people in the community, as well as payments for concerts performed in surrounding communities. In 1987, three civic groups in Waunakee built a Gazebo for the band in one of the village parks. This is where the band performs their summer concerts. It is a natural setting providing a beautiful location for performing and listening. Hundreds of people attend each concert. Many different local civic groups provide refreshments during the concerts making it a “picnic in the park” atmosphere enjoyed by the band and the audience. When it is not possible to perform in the park, the Waunakee Community School District allows the band to perform in the Performing Arts Center at the High School.
The concert season for the band includes concerts in the Village of Waunakee and in many surrounding communities. Within the band is a smaller group, known as the Waunakee Community Band “Dance Band”. This group occasionally puts on a winter dance in Waunakee, as a major fundraiser for the band. Groups from the band perform at annual events like the Relay for Life, Wauktoberfest, Waunafest Run, and Waunafest parade. In the past, the band has played for the opening of Governor Nelson State Park, Old World Wisconsin, Waunakee Depot Days, and the dedication of the new music wing at Waunakee High School.
The WCB has performed all over the southern and central parts of Wisconsin, as well as in Door County. In the summer of 1997, the group took a trip to Germany and Austria, with concerts in Neustadt, Diedesfeld, Duttweiller, Innsbruck, Reith bei Seefeld, and Leutasch. In the summer of 2000, the band visited Ireland and Scotland, playing concerts in Killarney and Dublin, Ireland and Oban, Scotland. In the summer of 2005, the band traveled to Norway, with concerts in Trondheim, Voss, and Loen.
The band’s latest trip was to Washington D.C. in the summer of 2007. Highlights of that trip were playing at the gravesite of John Philip Sousa at the Congressional Cemetery, and performing at the Armed Forces Retirement Home for distinguished veterans.
Through the years the band has presented many special concerts such as those honoring the Waunakee EMS and the Waunakee Fire Department. Theme concerts have included: A Children’s Concert; A Wisconsin Sesquicentennial Concert; two Sousa Concerts; A Broadway Musical Concert; A Wisconsin Composers Concert; The World and Beyond Concert; Come Dance with Me Concert; My Country, My Heritage Concert; 9/ll Remembrance and Tribute; and our 20th and 25th Anniversary Celebration Concerts. The band presents an annual Patriotic Concert that honors all active duty men and women and all veterans.
The band celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2005 with a special concert at the end of the season featuring a composition written for the band by Pierre La Plante. The band celebrated 25 years in 2010. Special events for that year included an anniversary concert, featuring two original compositions for the band by Rick Kirby and Luke Thering. The year ended in October with a concert at the Monona Terrace in Madison as part of the Wisconsin Music Educators’ Conference. The WCB plays a wide variety of musical styles, and has many fine soloists within the group. The WCB holds the reputation as one of the finest community bands in this part of the state, and loves to share its music with not only the people here in Wisconsin, but throughout the United States and beyond!
For more information, e-mail Jan Tweed at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 608-849-4868. The band’s website is: www.waunakeeband.org.