Conductor Larry Huntington coaches members of the Heritage Concert Band through a March 21 rehearsal.

Conductor Larry Huntington coaches members of the Heritage Concert Band through a March 21 rehearsal.

Photo by Brandy Baker


Heritage Concert Band keeps the beat

Drummer wanted for adult group

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published March 27, 2018

 Tuba player Danny Alef, 67, of Eastpointe, right, and other members of the band rehearse.

Tuba player Danny Alef, 67, of Eastpointe, right, and other members of the band rehearse.

Photo by Brandy Baker

 Betty Nelson, 87, from Grosse Pointe Farms, blows a mean alto sax.

Betty Nelson, 87, from Grosse Pointe Farms, blows a mean alto sax.

Photo by Brandy Baker

TROY — Is the clarinet you played in high school gathering dust? Have you thought about picking it up and picking up where you left off? 

The Heritage Concert Band awaits. No tryout necessary, no string instruments. A drummer is especially welcome. 

The adult group practices twice a month at the Troy Community Center.

“We’re always looking for more,” said band member Dave Meinhard. 

The band’s drummer recently retired.  

“Having a drummer helps to keep a band in tempo … but they also add a musical element to each piece as written by the composer. They are an important part of any band.”

The band performs classical, patriotic, Broadway and other music written for concert bands, and it performs at the city’s Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies, as well as at local houses of worship, for about eight concerts per year. 

“What’s the fun of being in a band if you don’t have performances?” Meinhard said. 

This summer, the band plans to perform at the newly refurbished band shell on Belle Isle in Detroit.

“We have a lot of really good musicians,” Meinhard said. The band comprises about 45 musicians ranging in age from their 20s to their 80s. 

Meinhard, 63, said he’s still playing with the trumpet he had in junior high school. 

He said members of the band come from throughout metro Detroit.

“There’s not that many bands out there,” he said. 

Bob Rourke, the band president and a clarinet player, started playing 30 years ago when he was in high school. He had to take some time off from playing to have dental work completed when he returned to the U.S. after serving in the Army. 

He’s been playing with the Heritage Concert Band for 20 years. 

“It’s fun — something to do every other week,” he said. His wife, Ann, comes to listen to the band practice and attends the performances. 

“People love playing,” Rourke said. “Most every person plays in another band. It’s purely nonprofit. We don’t make much money, but it’s fun. It’s a relaxed atmosphere.”  

Rourke also plays in the Warren Concert Band and in the Belgian-American Association Band. Meinhard also plays in the Belgian-American Association Band. 

Rourke’s favorite part of performing is “hearing it get better as we play.” 

He noted that “it’s very hard to find a drummer.” 

Adults interested in playing with the Heritage Concert Band — no string instruments — can attend practice at the Troy Community Center, 3179 Livernois Road, at 7:30 p.m. on the first and third Wednesdays of each month. For more information, call Meinhard at (248) 224-0711.