AUBURN – The month of January marks the Auburn Community Concert Band’s annual open-membership period. All musicians who wish to take part in the band’s upcoming summer concert season have until Jan. 25 to join the group and start participating in weekly rehearsals.

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

The 45-member performing group meets every Wednesday from 7 to 9 p.m. from January through May. During these five months, band members learn more than 100 musical selections. Rehearsals take place weekly 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 most of the Wednesday evening rehearsals.

From June through early September, the band presents weekly Wednesday evening concerts. These free, 75-minute performances take place at Festival Plaza in downtown Auburn, weather permitting. A different selection of music is featured each week, appealing to audiences both young and old. The 2012 summer concert series is expected to begin on June 13, and run through Aug. 22.

This summer will mark the organization’s 31st anniversary. Director Milt Simon, with the assistance of Auburn’s 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 introduced by the area’s music education programs. Today, current band members range in age from 16 to 87, and encompass residents from 16 central, southern, western and coastal Maine towns. Membership is open to anyone knowing how to play a wind or percussion instrument.

Before joining the ACCB, many of the group’s volunteer musicians had last played their instruments some 20 to 40 years ago, according to band director 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 stated that the opportunity to perform in front of audiences numbering 300 to 400 people on a weekly basis is appealing to both amateur and aging musicians.

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

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