Community Band Brings Music to Farmville
The hills around Farmville are alive with the sound of music and it’s all thanks to the Heart of Virginia Community Band. Started in 2014, founders Scott and Sarah McElfresh invited local musicians to come together for rehearsal. The initial meeting drew a crowd of 16 or so, and what would become the Heart of Virginia Community Band was born. Over the last three years, the band has taken off, marking their first public concert at Longwood University in May of 2014.
Inspired by similar groups in Charlottesville and Richmond, Scott and Sarah believed that Farmville would be an excellent place to launch an outlet for local musicians to connect with one another and the community.
“We understand the value that such a group can bring to the community,” says Scott. “Many people played in band in school but after graduation don’t get the opportunity to play, and their instrument sits in a closet. The band allows members of our community to gather and enjoy making music with other musicians.”
The Heart of Virginia Community Band has performed all over the Farmville community, including at the Heart of Virginia Festival and celebrations at High Bridge and Twin Lakes State Parks. The band has also provided inspirational music during the High Bridge 5K and Half-Marathon, as well as Christmas music at civic organization events.
Scott and Sarah say over the years they have had roughly 75 musicians be a part of the band. Currently they are 35 strong, with members hailing from all over Southside Virginia, including Rice, Keysville, Appomattox, Amelia and many more. As diverse in gifts as they are in age, the Heart of Virginia Community Band has members from age 13 to 85 and features a wide variety of instruments, such as flutes, trumpets, trombones, drums and even an euphonium.
If you’re not sure what an euphonium is the band is proud to offer you the perfect chance to come find out. On Monday, April 3 at 7:30 pm in Molnar Recital Hall in Wygal on Longwood’s campus they will be hosting one of their trademark free concerts.
“We perform a variety of music including marches and patriotic music, music from Broadway and Hollywood and transcriptions of classical music, as well as pieces written specifically for a concert wind band,” says Sarah.
The Heart of Virginia Community Band is free to participants and attendees, offering the incredible gift of music to those who participate as well as to community members who attend. The McElfreshes say the support of the Longwood Department of Music as well as the Prince Edward County Schools has been invaluable in providing them with practice facilities. They are also grateful for invitations from organizations like the Lions Club, Virginia State Park and the Prince Edward County Tourism Committee to perform at local events.
Scott and Sarah are proud of the things the band has already achieved in 3 years.
According to Scott, “We hope that our audience will grow. We would love for the community to provide more opportunities for us to perform and bring our music to a wider population.”
For more information on being a part of Heart of Virginia Community Band, check out their website. Make plans to attend their April 3rd performance and be prepared to be swept up in the beautiful sound of a community making music together.