To say music is important to North Scottsdale resident Frank Darmiento would be an understatement.
Not only has he conducted and performed with various music groups in the Valley, including the Chandler Symphony Orchestra and La Forza Chamber Orchestra, but he’s also been a member of the Scottsdale Concert Band for decades – 37 years to be exact.
“It’s challenging, and you have to stay in shape if you’re a musician,” Darmiento said. “You have to keep playing or else you lose your capabilities.”
Darmiento plays euphonium, and his wife Kathy Jones is also a part of the Scottsdale Concert Band, which was established in 1977.
Jones plays percussion.
“She’s involved in quite a few groups,” he said. “Actually, she plays in more groups than I do.”
Save for one or two other players, Darmiento has performed with the Scottsdale Concert Band the longest.
“There a few of the long-timers in there, and when you realize you’ve been playing with them for 20 years, you get to know them pretty well,” he said.
The 75-member community ensemble, directed by Michele Kalo, spans generations, though. Members range from high school-aged students to people in their 90s.
“There are a couple unique things about this band,” Darmiento said. “One is it’s a huge span of generations. We have people in their 90’s play with the band, and we have high school kids. So that’s an interesting cross-section you get.”
Being a seasoned player, he enjoys being able to help the younger players.
“When I was younger, I appreciated playing with experienced players. I would learn from what they were doing. You play with an open mind, and that’s one of the ways you learn,” Darmiento said. “With a veteran to show them the ropes, they learn that much faster. It’s an interesting element music groups have, especially community groups.”
Darmiento emphasizes that the band is for everybody, regardless of your experience level or age.
“A lot of people in the band quit after high school or college and, in some cases, quit for 30 years and then came back,” Darmiento said, adding:
“They were probably pretty good in high school, but they literally didn’t touch their instrument for decades. They were busy raising a family and focusing on their careers and whatnot, and community band is a vehicle for these folks to get back involved.”
This generation-spanning ensemble can be seen first-hand on Oct. 7, when the Scottsdale Concert Band takes the stage at the Chaparral High School Auditorium for its free concert titled “Sea and Sky.”
This concert, which marks the start of the Scottsdale Concert Band’s 41st season, will include performances of “Jupiter” from “The Planets” by Gustav Holst, “To Conquer the Skies” by Robert Sheldon, “Sea Songs” by R. Vaughan Williams, “When You Wish Upon a Star” by Ned Washington, and the U.S. Armed Forces Medley.
“When you come to a concert, it’s a one-of-a-kind, once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Darmiento said. “It’s the only time you’re going to hear that particular concert. Recordings are great, but live performances have their own energy and unique qualities.”
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