Local music advocates just made another big step closer to their long awaited practice facility.
Sequim City Band members announced last week a $25,000 donation to the group’s “Fund the Finale” capital campaign to build an extended rehearsal space at Swisher Hall, part of the James Center for Performing Arts.
“The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe is honored to contribute $25,000 to this very important Sequim project,” Jamestown tribal chairman W. Ron Allen said. “Our Tribe values and supports events and programs that reflect our community’s unique cultural treasures and artistic expressions.”
The band is at about 94 percent of its approximate $1 million goal, band publicity chair Vicky Blakesley said in mid-December.
The current rehearsal hall at the James Center, located just north of Carrie Blake Community Park, was built in 2005 as a storage room for the band’s extensive music library and percussion equipment. While it also served as the rehearsal space for the band, it could only comfortably accommodate 35 musicians.
The band now boasts more than 60 members, some of whom have collaborated in several small ensembles to play Christmas and seasonal music at the 7 Cedars Hotel in recent weeks.
The expanded rehearsal hall is designed for the health of the musicians with 20-foot ceilings and acoustical enhancements so to protect the musicians’ hearing, increased air exchange —particularly important to reduce any respiratory viruses and other air-transmitted diseases, Blakesley noted — and, to the great delight of the players, air conditioning, a feature absent in the current rehearsal/storage room.
In addition to a rehearsal space for the band, the Sequim Community Orchestra — itself a growing musical ensemble — is in need of the expanded space.
Part of the mission of the band is promotion of musical performance and it is dedicated to youth musical education, Blakesley noted, and both the current rehearsal room and the planned expanded hall are used by the Strings Kids Music Education Program. This program fills a need for Sequim youth who wish to learn to play the violin, viola and cello, she noted.
“As the students mature, they can gain more experience playing in an ensemble by joining the Sequim Community Orchestra, which sponsors the Sequim Strings Kid Program,” Blakesley said. “The Sequim City Band also directly supports young musicians by welcoming high school wind instrument and percussion players to join the band for rehearsals and performances.”
The organization has raised about 80 percent of its fundraising goal through grants from the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust ($300,000) and Department of Commerce’s ArtsFund ($250,000), from private donations ($225,000) and pledges ($27,000).
While Sequim City Band members will continue to reach out to regional businesses and individuals to complete the final 6 percent of the “Fund the Finale” capital campaign, they are also looking toward 2022. In the upcoming year, band representatives say the group is planning on a complete summer program: the 2022 Concerts at The James outdoor series is tentatively planned as six concerts running April through September, with hopes for the annual Patriotic Fourth of July musical celebration.
Until then, the band is searching for a rehearsal space large enough to accommodate the entire number of musicians. As the weather warms and the days lengthen, Blakesley said, band members will be able to rehearse on the outdoor stage at the James Center.
For those interested in supporting the building of the expanded rehearsal hall, representatives of the Sequim City Band are available to speak with them at businesses, group meetings or over coffee/tea.
Contact band representatives via the “Contact” tab on the band’s webpage (sequimcityband.org) or leave a voice mail at 360-207-4722.
The Sequim City Band is a recognized 501(c)3 nonprofit. Donations may be made at the website or mailed to: PO Box 1745, Sequim WA 98382; designate “Rehearsal Hall Expansion” or “Building Fund” to direct a donation specifically to theproject.
For more information about the Sequim City Band and its building project, visit facebook.com/Sequim.City.Band.