May 14 Proclaimed Augustana College and Community Band Day

SIOUX FALLS – Sioux Falls Mayor Dave Munson has proclaimed May 14, 2009, as Augustana College and Community Band Day.

The Augustana College and Community Band, founded and directed by Dr. Bruce Ammann, professor of music at Augustana, celebrates its 20th anniversary in concert on May 14 at 7:30 p.m. in the Elmen Center. Also performing is the Augustana Band and Wind Ensemble. The concert is free and open to the public.

In the beginning, the size of the College and Community Band was not an issue. Dr. Ammann’s initial concern was to fill-out a second concert band for Augustana students by adding community members.

“The community element has continued to grow to the point where we have reached a time where there really is no more room in the rehearsal facility for more members,” Dr. Ammann said.

Twenty-five people attended the first rehearsal in the fall of 1989. Dr. Ammann suggested they bring a friend and the next week there were 35. By the end of the year the ensemble had grown to 55. Seventy-five musicians participated the second year. Today, there are more than 100 members.

Membership in the College and Community Band provides a cross-section of the community. Included are educators, students, physicians, accountants, receptionists, pilots, homemakers, retirees, pastors, nurses, sales managers, scientists, government employees, attorneys, bankers, engineers, and more.

Band members meet once a week for rehearsal. Concerts are scheduled during each semester. Dr. Ammann directs the ensemble during the fall semesters, while Dr. Paul Schilf, assistant professor of music at Augustana, conducts during the spring semesters.

In the summer of 2006, the band scheduled its first international tour, traveling to Eastern Europe. In 2008, the band toured Germany, Austria, and Italy. Both tours were under the direction of Dr. Schilf. A third international tour is planned for June, 2010. Greece is the destination.

“We have had entire families go on the international tours,” Dr. Amman said. “We have also drawn on alumni, current band members, college students, and extended family members. Each trip has been a wonderful experience of performing and visiting.”

This is exactly what Dr. Ammann had in mind when he organized the ensemble 20 years ago.

“Since both Paul and I are music educators, we share a philosophy of life-long learning in music. Most of the community opportunities here in Sioux Falls for band musicians are more directed toward the semi-professional performer (Municipal Band, South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, the Dakota Wind Ensemble). The College/Community Band provides the opportunity to the musician who wishes to relive those positive musical experiences that they had in school with the commitment of one night a week rehearsing. Do not misread this into thinking these members do not wish to perform at a very high level; they just cannot devote the time necessary for a semi-professional organization.”

Dr. Ammann said the positive statement for Augustana College is to have these professional individuals coming to campus once per week to be a part of a creative and aesthetic experience and to continue to have music education be a part of their life.

Bruce Conley
Director, News Information
Phone: 605.274.5526
Fax: 605.274.4903