Banding together

Suzie Harrison

The Laguna Beach High Artists’ Theatre was packed Monday for the

Spring Concert with fifth-grade band students performing alongside the

Laguna Community Concert Band.


The marriage of the students from Top of the World and El Morro

elementary schools and the community band was the brainchild of program

manager Carol Reynolds.

“One night I started brainstorming and came up with the idea. I was so


excited that I couldn’t sleep,” said Reynolds.

“The band really got into it being the true community concert band,”

said Dennis White the band’s president.

After Reynolds presented the idea to Joanne Culverhouse, principal at

El Morro Elementary, Ron Lamotte, principal at Top of the World

Elementary, and Bill Nicholls, the music director for both schools, the

concert band started working with students once or twice a week.

“In the community band there are some of the more mature movers and


shakers. And on this stage sits the next generation of movers and

shakers,” Nicholls said to the audience.

The band members go to the schools and mentor students who play the

same instrument.

“The kids are so jazzed about the music program now that the community

bands is involved,” said Culverhouse.

The concert Monday started with the “Star Spangled Banner” and

“America.” Some of the pieces were performed together while “Bingo” and


“Yankee Doodle” were performed exclusively by the elementary bands,

conducted by Nicholls.

As in Laguna’s Patriot Day Parade, the wording of “Yankee Doodle” was

changed and sung by the students Laguna style. “Yankee Doodle . . .

riding on a surfboard. Stuck a feather in his hat and called it seaweed.”

The community band has been together for about five or six years and

has grown to 29 members. This program is one of many community projects

the band is involved in.

White invites other musicians from surrounding communities to dust

off their instruments and play with the band, but says they are looking

for a permanent home.

“We need a place where we can have a band shell. The most desirable

place would be the Festival of the Arts. A lot of things happen when you

have a permanent place,” White said.

The community band will be playing at the Sawdust Festival and the

Festival of the Arts this summer as well as other events around Laguna.