The Milford Communty Band is a 501 c 3 not-for-profit organization. All donations
are tax deductible. The EIN is 20-3660855. Send your tax deductible contribution
A quote from Mr. N. Joe Lear, Sr. – founder of the Milford Community Band: “I started attending Wesley College in the fall of 1986. I continued through the spring semester of 1989. During those years, I played trombone with the Wesley Jazz band. In the fall of 1989, I started to work as a volunteer for Mr. Gerald Thompson, band director, Milford High School. In November of that year, I made the comment to Gerry that I no longer had any place to play my horn. He said, ‘Start a community band.’ What a great idea! I arranged with my church to use their choir room for Tuesday evenings. Gerry loaned us some music from the high school. I put a notice in the Milford Chronicle about the desire to form a community band and received several replies. Our first rehearsal was mid-February and sixteen people showed up. Five original members are still with the band – Margie Jones, Bill Mayhew, Tony Perrone, Mac Foster and myself. And we have been growing ever since.”
The band started as the “Milford Adult Community Band”, but dropped the “Adult” after a few years. Membership is open to anyone who has a horn and can read music. The major purpose of the band is to provide a place to play. Those of us who used to play in high school/college, then discontinued playing (for whatever reason) and want play again now have the opportunity. Secondary purpose is to provide musical entertainment for appreciative audiences.
Current membership now includes many young people from 7th grade on up through seniors in high school. Of course, there are also older people, several in their eighties. There are several family units: Mother and two children; 2 Dads and their daughters; 4 husband/wife combinations. Membership changes, of course – people move away, lose interest, etc. Since its inception, there have been 282 participants in the band. The active list contains about 63 names. The members come from Bridgeville, Clayton, Dover, Ellendale, Felton, Georgetown, Greenwood, Harbeson, Harrington, Lewes, Smyrna, Lincoln, Magnolia, Milford, Millsboro, Milton, Rehoboth, Seaford, and Selbyville.
Our band began in the facilities of the Avenue United Methodist Church, in Milford. Coincidentally, the Delaware Music School was also housed in the same building. We found that the MCB and DMS had common interests and goals, and subsequently the Board of Directors of the DMS allowed the MCB to merge with them. We, the MCB, are an independent group, but we are blessed to be under the “umbrella” of the DMS. When the DMS relocated from AUMC to their present location, we moved with them.
Our first real conductor, Mr. Gene Bowne, who was an instructor at the DMS and “had always wanted to be a conductor of a Community Band”, so we let him. He was a great asset. Unfortunately, he passed away a few years later. Prior to the arrival of Gene, conducting was by someone in the band counting off “1 –2 – ready go” and we played. After Gene, we were led by Mr. David Prettyman for a short period. Our next leader was, and still is at this writing, Mr. Philip Steinhoff . We are blessed in that there are two other band members who have had band directing experience. So when Mr. Steinhoff can’t make a gig, we have competent replacements to choose from.
The MCB played their first public performance on April 10, 1990, at the Wesley College Jazz Festival. Then several other gigs during 1990. As time passed, we did more and more performances.
Performances in Washington, D. C.
June 12, 1993 – Presidents Park – across the street from the White
In addition to those performances, we have played in Wilmington and at Dover Air Force Base. We play annually at the band stands in Bethany and Rehoboth Beaches, Milford Hospital Fair, July 4th events at Bethany Beach and on the green in Dover, and September 11 remembrances in Georgetown and Milford. And the list goes on. Our current schedule is on our web site: www.milfordcommunityband.org.
We have an extensive library – over 600 pieces of music in 5 filing cabinets. We have received several musical instruments from various sources. These are available for use by those who don’t yet have their own horn.
In addition to the Milford Community Band, we have three other musical groups:
The Smooth Sound Dance Band – a group of 18 musicians who play music of the 30s. 40s, 50s, as well as some current music.
The Downtown Dixieland Band – a group of 8 musicians who play Ragtime and Dixieland music from the early 20th century.
The Christmas Carol Band – a group of varying size (depending on location) who play Christmas Carols from mid-November up to Christmas.
Please visit our friends...The Dover Symphony Orchestra
The Chesapeake Silver Cornet Brass Band
The Diamond State Concert Band
The Music School of Delaware
Newark Community Band
The Swing Noteables
They all have cool web sites, and links to many other community bands, brass bands, and orchestras.