AUBURN — January marks the Auburn Community Band’s annual open membership period. All musicians who wish to take part in the band’s summer concert season have until Wednesday, Jan. 26, to join the group and start participating in weekly rehearsals.

The community band has an immediate need for percussionists who can read music. The group is also hoping to attract additional musicians who play flute, clarinet, tenor or bari sax, trumpet, French horn or tuba.

The 45- to 50-member band meets from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays from January through May. During the five months, band members learn more than 100 musical selections.

Rehearsals take place at the High Street Congregational Church, located between High and Pleasant streets. Musicians must have their own instrument and music stand and be able to commit to the weekly schedule of Wednesday rehearsals.

From June through early September, the band presents weekly Wednesday evening concerts. Most of the free, 75-minute evening performances take place at Festival Plaza in downtown Auburn, weather permitting. A different selection of music is featured each week. The 2011 summer concert series is expected to begin on June 15 and run through Aug. 24.

This year marks the organization’s 30th anniversary. Director Milt Simon, with the assistance of the Auburn Park and Recreation Department, announced the formation of the group in the fall of 1981.

Simon was aware that Central Maine had a history of large high school bands, and recognized there was no local opportunity for graduating students to continue using and improving the performance skills.

Now, ages of the band members range from 20 to 85 and encompass residents from as many as 16 central, southern and coastal Maine towns. Membership is open to anyone knowing how to play a wind or percussion instrument.

Before joining the community band, many of the group’s volunteer musicians had last played their instruments some 20 to 40 years ago, said Simon.

“People are often nervous when they attend their first rehearsal, because of the length of time since they last held their instrument. However, most people regain their musical skills within a short period of time.” Simon added, “It’s like riding a bike; once you have learned how to do it, you never forget.”

Additional information about the group is posted on the band’s Web site, Interested musicians are asked to call Simon at 782-3917 before attending their first rehearsal.

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