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Walters State Community Band To Debut New Music
April 19, 2018

What kind of music describes this area? Would it be an upbeat piece showing the area’s growth or would it be a waltz, something that pays homage to the area’s heritage?

The Walters State Community Band will premiere a commissioned piece that captures this part of Tennessee in 4/4 time. Composer Shaun Salem will serve as guest conductor when the band debuts the piece at its April 22 concert. 

The concert begins at 3 p.m. in the “Z” Buda Assembly Hall and Museum. Admission is free. 

The piece is entitled “Lakeway Tribute” and is 4 minutes, 15 seconds long. 

“To be honest, I began writing this by saying ‘Walters State’ over and over in my mind until it became a sound,” Salem said. 

He started with a Celtic sound and tried working in a little “Espirit de Corps.” Then, he saw a need to make the music more accessible for musicians of all instruments.

“I know that Davy Crockett’s father had a tavern in Morristown. I wanted to pay tribute to Crockett and his sacrifice at the Alamo. I also know the city has so many festivals and events that bring people together. I also wanted to give it a festive feeling. I also wanted to include the area’s scenic and adventurous side,” Salem said. 

Salem began working on putting all of that into music in January, 2017. He shared the music, a few bars at a time, with conductors Tom Shupe and Greg Woodruff. 

“We wanted to do something special for the band, the college and the community,” said Shupe. 

“We began by just describing the area as a beautiful place between the lakes and the mountains,” Shupe added.

Woodruff said that performing a new piece of music for the first time is a very unique experience for musicians – especially for the members of the community band.

“Being the very first to play a piece of music is just amazing for a musician. The band members have been so excited about this opportunity,” he added. 

Woodruff also hopes the new music may inspire some potential members to come see what the band is about. The band is made up of students and of community members that want to continuing playing their instrument. Some members may be high school band directors. Others may not have played their instruments for years. 

“We are just a group of people that love to play music and want to have fun while playing it. When I retired to this area, I didn’t know if I would have a chance to play again and I was very happy to find the community band. 

“We have people who come in and haven’t played in 25 or 30 years. In the beginning, they may be sheepish. Each time they play, their confidence rises. 

Soon, they’re happy to just be making music again,” Woodruff said.
After the performance, the music will be published and offered to other bands. 

In the photo: The Walters State Community Band has over 70 members.