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The Ypsilanti Community Band – The First 30 Seasons

The Ypsilanti Community Band – The First 30 Seasons image The Ypsilanti Community Band – The First 30 Seasons image The Ypsilanti Community Band – The First 30 Seasons image The Ypsilanti Community Band – The First 30 Seasons image The Ypsilanti Community Band – The First 30 Seasons image The Ypsilanti Community Band – The First 30 Seasons image The Ypsilanti Community Band – The First 30 Seasons image The Ypsilanti Community Band – The First 30 Seasons image The Ypsilanti Community Band – The First 30 Seasons image The Ypsilanti Community Band – The First 30 Seasons image
Jerry Robbins, Ed.D.
Rights Held By
Ypsilanti Historical Society
OCR Text

It’s a Tuesday evening. Wayne Jahnke assembles his trombone as he readies for a rehearsal of the Ypsilanti Community Band (YCB). Across the room, Lorne Kennedy warms up his clarinet. Both Jahnke, a retired utilities administrator, and Kennedy, a retired postal worker, have met for this purpose most Tuesday nights for the past 30 years. Both are charter and continuous members of the YCB.

The YCB began on January 22, 1979, when Lynn Cooper, then in his 10th year as a band director in the Ypsilanti schools, called together a group of 23 of his friends, his former students, and band students from Eastern Michigan University (EMU). At that exploratory meeting, it was decided to continue with the organization of a community band. The first rehearsal was set for February 20, 1979. More than 50 people attended that first rehearsal and the Band was under way. However, this was, by no means, the first adult band organization in the community.

Predecessor Bands in the Community: There are references to a city band in the mid-1800’s, led by Fred Cutler. This may be the same as the Ypsilanti Cornet Band, said to be founded in the 1870’s, also led by Cutler. This band dissolved and was replaced by the Light Guard Band, which appears to have been founded in 1872. A second Ypsilanti City Band was organized in 1876, led by Charles Skinner.

Perhaps the best remembered former Ypsilanti adult band was the "Barnhill Band," founded by John F. Barnhill, a professor of mathematics at Michigan State Normal College (now EMU), and its successor (after the death of the founder in 1941), the Barnhill Memorial Band. (See Lois Katon, “Ypsilanti High School Boys Band and the Ypsilanti Community Band,” Ypsilanti Gleanings, fall 2006, p.14.) Unfortunately, this band's numbers began to dwindle and it dissolved in the 1960's.

YCB - The Beginnings: The original purposes as set by Lynn Cooper and the other founders of the YCB, with minor changes in wording, remain firmly in place. Among the features that have made and continue to make YCB different from many other musical groups in the area are (a) no auditions, (b) any player of a concert band instrument is welcome, (c) all concerts are free, and (d) all personal services are donated.

YCB - The Conductors: The YCB has had five conductors. Their lengths of service have ranged from one season to more than 10 seasons.

• Lynn Cooper (1979-1985), the founding conductor, received all of his formal education in Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor institutions. With the exception of his first three years of teaching, through the time that he led the YCB, his career was as a band director in the Ypsilanti schools. He accepted a position at Asbury College in Kentucky in 1985, from which institution he has retired recently. During his years at Asbury he completed his doctorate (from UM) and became chair of the Department of Music at that institution. In 1979, Cooper felt that the area was ripe for a post-high school musical performance group. Cooper led organizational and musical activities of the YCB during the formative first seven seasons.
• Paul Stanifer (1985-1986) served as the second YCB conductor for the 8th (1985-1986) season. Stanifer lived at the time in Temperance, MI, where he had conducted award-winning bands in the Bedford schools for 17 years before switching to a management and sales career. Stanifer later joined the staff of the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association and he currently serves as the Executive Director of that organization.
• Charles Lee (1986-1988, a native of Indiana, served as YCB’s third conductor for the 9th and 10th (1986-1988) seasons. A former high school band director, he also had directed bands at St. Joseph’s College and Morehead State University. He was the first director of bands at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. Lee received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in higher education in 1982. At the time of his appointment as YCB Music Director and Principal Conductor, Lee was the corporate marketing manager for education at the Burroughs Corporation. Following his service with the YCB, Lee held other corporate positions. He has recently retired and lives in South Carolina.
• Kenneth Bowman (1988-1998) served as the fourth YCB conductor for the 11th through 20th seasons (1988-1998). He grew up in Connecticut and received his first degree from Danbury State Teachers College. Bowman served in the U.S. Army after graduation and played tuba with the First Army Band (NY) and the Ninth Army Band in Fairbanks (AL). Bowman began his teaching career in 1961 in Fairbanks. After earning his masters degree from UM in 1965 he taught band in Armada, MI for two years. He came to Lincoln High School in 1967 and was the band director there until his retirement in 1989. Bowman was a charter and 20-year member of the YCB. He died in 2007.
• Jerry Robbins (1998-present), the fifth conductor, Jerry Robbins, has served in that role from season 21 (1998-1999) to the present time. A native of Arkansas, his bachelor’s degree is in mathematics and music from Hendrix College and his masters and doctorate are in educational administration from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. After a brief career as a high school band director in Arkansas, he went on to become a high school principal, university professor, department chair, and central university administrator at several institutions. Robbins served 25 years as Dean of the College of Education at three institutions. He retired from that position at EMU in 2004. Active in community music groups all his adult life, Robbins served 11 years as the assistant conductor of the North Fulton Community Band (now the Atlanta Wind Symphony) in Georgia. When he came to EMU in 1991, he joined the YCB as a trombone player. In 1993, he was named assistant conductor of the YCB, a position he held until being named YCB conductor in 1998. (The Band was known as the “Barnhill Band” during the indoor seasons from 1998 to 2002.)

YCB - The Assistant Conductors: There have been periods of time when there was no assistant conductor. In some cases, an individual served several times as “guest conductor” before being officially named “assistant conductor.” YCB’s assistant conductors have included: Michael Chiumento (1979), John Mason (1983-1985), Lawrence VanOyen (1986-1987), Michael Letovsky (1988-1990), Janet Williams (1990-1991), Diane Joslin (1990-1992), Jerry Robbins (1993-1998), George Thompson (1998-2002), Jon Margerum-Leys (2002-2005), James Wagner (2007-present), Pat Padilla (2007-present), and Vince Chrisman (2008-present).
YCB - The Players: There were 59 players listed for the first concert in May 1979, a number that increased to 68 for the next concert in July of that year. The least number of players on record for an indoor concert was 35 for the March 2, 1995 and May 1, 1997 concerts. The greatest number of players listed on the program for an indoor concert was 89 for the October 18, 2001 performance and, for an outdoor concert, 92 for the June 28, 2007 performance. (In recent years, each printed program has listed the formal membership of the Band at that time, rather than the number of persons actually playing.)

During the Lynn Cooper years, the number of players at any given time was typically in the 60’s, but this declined to the 50’s during the next three years. During the Ken Bowman years, the number of players at any given time gradually dropped from the 70’s to the 40’s. During the “Barnhill Band” years (1998-2002) under Jerry Robbins, there were typically 70-85 players at any given time during the academic year. After that, without the EMU affiliation, the number of players at any given time was in the 50’s and 60’s, gradually increasing to the 70’s--and more--of recent times.

The 30 seasons of printed programs include 878 different individuals who have played with the Band during that period. The mean number of seasons per player is three, but there is a dedicated group of players who have or have had a long history with the Band.
Wayne Jahnke (trombone) and Lorne Kennedy (clarinet), both charter members, have completed their 30th season with YCB. Other long-serving members are the late Harold Goodsman (trumpet, a charter member) with 29 seasons; George Craven (trumpet) with 27 seasons; and Jim McGraw (clarinet) with 26 seasons. Both Rich Valencourt (trumpet) and Tom Warner (percussion) have completed 25 seasons.

Val Kabat (bass clarinet) has 23 seasons to her credit and both George Appel (clarinet) and Jane Bishop (horn) have 21 seasons in which they have participated. Wendell Birdsall (clarinet, saxophone, etc.), the late Ken Bowman (tuba, conductor, and a charter member), Duane DeButts (saxophone), and Earl Holbrook (trumpet) each were involved for 20 seasons.

David Peele (flute) and John Reves (trumpet) each have 19 seasons to their credit. Virgil Christophel (tuba), Rich Cranston (percussion), and Judith Mohl (clarinet) each have 18 seasons. Those who have been involved for 17 seasons include Lisa Q. Muenzenberger (clarinet, a charter member), Jerry Robbins (trombone, conductor), Aaron Taratsas (percussion), Sandy Wagner (clarinet and saxophone), and the late Carl Young (tuba).

Sixteen seasons of service have been contributed by Joe Burke (trumpet), the late Randy Katon (percussion), Dick Pitcher (horn), and Erick Starnal (tuba). Ralph Cobb (trumpet), Laura Durham (clarinet), the late Tom Herman (trombone, a charter member), Jon Kennedy (saxophone, a charter member), Peter Sparks (trombone), and Michelle Tripp (clarinet) all have been involved for 15 of the 30 seasons. Another 110 persons have played between five and 14 seasons.

YCB - The Performances: As of the end of the 30th season, the YCB (and ensembles from the Band) had performed at nearly 300 events, according to available records, with a range per season from two (1979) to 19 (2007-08). The Band has increased its performance activity over time, as indicated by the fact that 42% of all known performances have occurred during the most recent 1/3 of its life.

YCB - The Length of the Seasons: The first (organizational) season began with a February 20, 1979 rehearsal, included a May 4, 1979 concert in the Ypsilanti High School auditorium, and concluded with a July 5, 1979 concert in Riverside Park. However, in seasons two through seven (1979-1985), the season started with a concert relatively early in the calendar year (and rehearsals that began in the late fall of the previous year) and concluded in mid-July. A late fall through mid-August calendar of rehearsals and performances was maintained from season eight (1985-1986) through season 20 (1997-1998). However, since 1998, the Band has been a “year-round” band, with a September through mid-August rehearsal and performance season.

YCB - Indoor Performances 1979 to 1998: From 1979 through the spring of 1998, almost all indoor concerts of the YCB were held in the auditorium of Ypsilanti High School. The few exceptions included performances at the Ypsilanti Central Community Building (1980, 1984), Pease Auditorium at EMU (1986, 1987, 1988, 1989), and Holy Trinity Chapel (1995). YCB provided the music for EMU’s December 1987 Commencement Ceremonies in Bowen Field House. The YCB performed concerts in the West Middle School gymnasium in 1996 and 1997.

YCB - Indoor (and fall/winter season) Performances 1998 to date: As a result of the Band’s affiliation with EMU, all of the (Barnhill Band’s) indoor concerts from the fall of 1998 through the spring of 2002 were held in Pease Auditorium at EMU. Since the fall of 2002, most of the Band’s indoor concerts have been held in Towsley Auditorium in the Morris Lawrence Building at Washtenaw Community College (WCC). There have been a number of interesting exceptions, which include: 2002 - “Change of command” ceremony, Selfridge ANG base; 2005 - The first of four (to date) consecutive annual invited appearances at the prestigious Red Cedar Festival of Community Bands, held at Okemos (MI) High School; YCB Pep Band for ESPN’s live coverage of the Professional Bowling Association finals, held in the EMU Convocation Center; Pease Auditorium, EMU, for a re-creation of a Sousa Band concert; 2005-2007 - Brass quintet music once a year for Ypsilanti civic events. A brass quintet also provided much of the music for Ken Bowman’s memorial service in 2007; 2007 - Senior citizens event, Ypsilanti Township Community Center; 2007-2008 - Lobby of Morris Lawrence Building at WCC for ensemble concerts; 2008 – Whitmore Lake High School Auditorium, with the Whitmore Lake High School Band; brass/percussion ensemble in a portion of the Ypsilanti Community Choir’s (YCC) 25th anniversary concert at Emmanuel Lutheran Church.

YCB - Outdoor/Summer Concerts 1979 to present: From 1979 through 2005, the Band performed frequently in the summer in Ypsilanti city parks—most frequently and originally in Recreation Park, but later in Riverside, Prospect, and Candy Cane parks as well. Other outdoor/summer performance locations have included: 1980 - Ypsilanti Regional Psychiatric Hospital; 1984 - St. Matthews United Methodist Church; 1984, 1986, and 1987 - Manchester Chicken Broil; 1986 to date - Annually at the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival. In 1989 the YCB also performed at ceremonies honoring the 100th anniversary of the Ypsilanti water tower; 1988 - McAuley Health Center; 1988 to date - Annually at the Yankee Air Museum Memorial Day ceremonies; 1989 - UM Hospital courtyard; 1989 through much of the ‘90’s - Annual concert in the Belleville area; 1999 - Downtown Ypsilanti - Ypsilanti’s Depot Town; 2000 - EMU Lake House/University Park, for the annual convention of the National Council of Professors of Educational Administration; 2001 - Near the Mark Jefferson plaza, EMU campus; 2003 to date - EMU Convocation Center, annual pre-event concert and ceremonial music for the United Association (plumbers and pipefitters) Completion Ceremony (affiliated with WCC). A brass ensemble provided music for 2003 ceremonies at WCC related to new facilities for UA training activities; 2006 - EMU Lakehouse/University Park; 2006-2007 - WCC’s Community Park; 2007 - Ford Lake Park - Concordia University campus, part of a concert by three invited area adult bands; Ann Arbor’s Top of the Park series (provided a 20-player “back up” ensemble for Lady Sunshine and the X Band); 2007-2008 - Wilson Park in Milan - Pep Band for Dexter-Ann Arbor Run; 2008 - Clarkston, MI, for joint/combined band concert with the Clarkston Community Band; Lakeshore Apartments, Ford Lake, for a (rained out) concert and fireworks show; provided many of the wind/percussion players for the pit orchestra for the Hartland Players production of “West Side Story.”

Guest conductors: Several prominent guest conductors have led the Band over the years. The first of these was H. Robert Reynolds, then the Director of Bands at UM, in 1980. He was followed the following year by Carl St. Clair, conductor of several prominent orchestras. Max Plank, former Director of Bands at EMU, has guest conducted the band four times--1982, 1988, 1998, and 2000. Michael Krajewski, then Assistant Conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, was a guest conductor in 1983. David Woike, then Assistant Director of Bands at EMU, guest conducted in 1997.

Soloists. In addition to a number of members of the YCB who have soloed with the band, guest soloists have included Paul Bravender, baritone (1980, 1981); combined church choirs from the area (1981); EMU marimba quartet (1982); Carter Eggers, trumpet (1983, 1987, 1988, and 2007); Al Townsend, trombone (1984); the late Louis Stout, Sr. and Daniel Ross, horn duet (1986); Debbie Baer, trumpet (1987); J. Whitney Prince, xylophone (1990); James Wagner, piano (1994); Kimberly Cole, clarinet (1998); EMU Ballroom Dancers and EMU Swing Society (2000); hand bell choirs from the Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor First United Methodist Churches (2000, 2005); David Vaughn, bass (2001, 2005, 2007, and 2008); Candice Johnson, soprano (2001); Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkevciene, organ (2002); Scott Elsholz, organ (2002); Patrick Echlin and Kevin Trombley, trumpets (2004); Amy Feldkamp, violin (2005); and Greg Hulbert and Scott Hulbert, marimba duet (2008).

Twirlers who have performed with the YCB during Heritage Festival concerts include Cara Jasiolek (2001, 2002); Chelsea Palazolio (2003); Nathan Magyar (2004, 2005, and 2007); Mary Ciotta and Stacey Girbach (2006); and Chrissy Houle and Conner Potter (2008). The Willow Run High School Junior ROTC color guard presented the colors at 2006 and 2007 outdoor patriotic concerts.

A number of civic leaders have served as announcers for concerts. In addition, then-Mayor Cheryl Farmer spoke at the Sousa Band anniversary concert in 2005, as did Mrs. Mary Ross Miller, who had attended the Sousa Band concert 75 years earlier.

A memorable speaking appearance was that of “Queen Elizabeth, Too,” accompanied by “Prince Philip,” as portrayed by the late Lila Green and her husband, at a 2002 concert of British band music. Another memorable speaking appearance was that by Jon Margerum-Leys, playing the role of announcer Ford Bond in the YCB’s 2007 re-creation of two radio broadcasts of the “Paul Lavalle and the Cities Service Band of America” program.

YCB - Music performed: A tabulation compiled at the time of the YCB’s 25th anniversary showed that the Band had performed, at that time, 624 different compositions. It is estimated that the number now exceeds 750. The Band has performed most frequently “Star Spangled Banner” (at least 60 times), “Stars and Stripes Forever” (at least 58 times), and “America the Beautiful” (at least 52 times).

The YCB has performed original compositions by several of its members, including Scott Guthre, James Wagner, and Alan Singer, and transcriptions/arrangements by Band member George Appel. Several other compositions are believed to have received their local-area premier in YCB concerts, one of the recent ones being “The Story of the Five Joaquins” with composer Keith Otis Edwards in the audience.

YCB - Special Concert Features: The YCB has celebrated its10th, 20th, and 25th anniversary concerts with special programming, including inviting former conductors to participate. A memorial tribute at concerts has been paid to Band members who have died, including William Wade, Thomas Herman, Carl Young, Erika Anstett, Art Cofer, and Harold Goodsman. Living members of the original Barnhill Band were recognized at a 2001 concert.

Many of the indoor concerts of the past decade have been “themed.” Two concerts of recent years have required a good deal of historical research and other preparation in order to be “authentic” in terms of implementing the theme.

The first of these was a re-creation of a Sousa Band concert, held in Pease Auditorium (the site of three Sousa Band performances) on October 20, 2005, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the final appearance in Ypsilanti of the Sousa Band. Almost all music on the program (which was carefully structured like a Sousa Band concert) had been performed in Ypsilanti during one of the three Sousa Band appearances in our community.

The second of these (October 25, 2007) was a re-creation of two 30-minute radio broadcasts of the 1950’s era “Paul Lavalle and the Cities Service Band of America” weekly radio programs. The performance included verbatim (from actual broadcasts) commercials for Cities Service (now CITGO) products and services, “on the air” and “applause” signs, vintage microphones, NBC chimes, a male quartet, and careful timing to make sure each segment was exactly 30 minutes long.

YCB – Ensembles: Ensemble performances have been important during most of the history of the YCB. There was a “jazz ensemble” that began in 1982 and which performed regularly as part of concerts for several seasons after that. Later, the Riverside Big Band provided similar portions of performances. Around 1989, there was a Dixieland group. Each December concert, starting in 1998 (with one exception), has included an ensemble feature.

Since 2006, there has been an annual Sunday afternoon Ensemble Concert in March, in which numerous members of the Band (in some cases, joined by “friends” from other musical organizations) have presented an entire program of music written for small groups.

YCB - Rehearsal Locations: Rehearsals were held in the band room of Ypsilanti High School from the beginning through the summer of 1998. From the fall of 1998 through the summer of 2002, YCB rehearsed at EMU as part of the “Barnhill Band” arrangement. In 2002-2003, the Band rehearsed in the Morris Lawrence Building at WCC. Because of WCC’s space needs, the Band moved its rehearsals to the band room at Ypsilanti’s West Middle School in the fall of 2003 and remained there through 2007, with the exception of being elsewhere for three summers.
The YCB outgrew the capacity of the West Middle School band room. There were comfort and potential safety problems because of the numbers, along with a lack of access to the facility from time to time on rehearsal nights. For these reasons, possible (preferably free) alternative rehearsal spaces were sought and considered. No appropriate space was to be found in the City of Ypsilanti or Ypsilanti Township.

Whitmore Lake High School (WLHS) offered the free use of highly-appropriate rehearsal space in a new high school building, including storage space, and offered support in other important ways in terms of lack of disruption of rehearsal schedules. After considerable discussion, the Band accepted this offer and began rehearsals at WLHS in the fall of 2007. Rehearsals and storage have continued there to this time.

YCB - Organizational Affiliations: From the beginning, the YCB has been structured as a “stand alone” organization, deriving no formal financial or logistical support from any other civic or governmental organization. This structure has been maintained to the present time, with the exception of the fall 1998 to summer 2002 period when, for many purposes, YCB was part of the University Bands program of the Department of Music at EMU. Even during that time, the formal, legal structure of “Ypsilanti Community Band” was maintained.

The YCB is a member of the Ypsilanti Area Chamber of Commerce and the Association of Concert Bands. It has been the beneficiary of substantial in-kind services from such local organizations as the Ypsilanti schools, EMU, WCC, the Lincoln schools, Whitmore Lake schools, the City of Ypsilanti, Ypsilanti First United Methodist Church, and numerous other governmental and private organizations in the area.

YCB - Special Projects: The YCB assisted with the organization of the Ypsilanti Community Choir (YCC) during the 1983-1984 season and the two musical organizations have shared an annual concert since that time. Alan Singer was the winner of an original composition competition in 2003-2004.

In 2007, the YCB created the Kenneth Bowman Memorial Scholarship to be awarded each year to a middle or high school band student in the county to attend the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. The first award was made in 2008 to Isabell “Izzy” Salley, a trumpet player from Clague Middle School in Ann Arbor.

In memory of a long-time community musician, the Band created the Harold Goodsman Award, to be presented each year to a YCB member who has contributed outstanding service to the Band in addition to playing. Aaron Taratsas received the first such award in 2007.

In memory of charter member and 10-year conductor Ken Bowman, the Band created the Bowman Memorial Music Fund. This fund receives donations from Band members and other friends to purchase new music. In addition, the YCB Board has established a policy that at least once each year the Band will perform a joint concert with an area middle- or high school band, giving young musicians an opportunity to play side-by-side with more experienced players. The first such concert was held in 2007 and involved the Whitmore Lake High School Band directed by Mike Kirby.

YCB - Equipment and Storage: From 1979 through 2002, the YCB owned little equipment. Wind instrument players were (and still are) expected to provide their own instruments. With the exception of some very basic instruments, percussion players used equipment privately owned or owned by the Ypsilanti schools or EMU. Storage was a very minor problem.

In 2002, as rehearsals and performances began at WCC, YCB found itself seriously short of access to major percussion equipment. Major fund-raising efforts were undertaken to buy first two, and then four, matched timpani, along with chimes and other large and expensive percussion instruments. Additional percussion equipment has been acquired since that time, along with an outdoor sound system, music stands, and other accessories. Between 2002 and 2007, much equipment and library storage was in commercial facilities and in band member’s homes.

YCB – Library: Similar to the situation with equipment, YCB owned little music in the years between 1979 and 2002. During this time, almost everything played by the YCB was music borrowed from the host institution (YHS or EMU) or from other local-area high school band libraries. A 1991 library inventory shows that YCB owned only 64 titles at that time, all of which easily fit in one file cabinet.

However, in 2002, YCB began the systematic acquisition of almost all of the music it has played from that point forward. As of this writing, the YCB library contains more than 450 band arrangements, with a goal of acquiring more than 30 additional ones each year.

YCB – Financing: The YCB has always operated on a principle of relying heavily on donated services—personnel services, rehearsal and performance space, and the like. Expenses were modest during the first 24 seasons and largely were met, through much of the history of the Band, by numerous relatively small donations by members and patrons. For example, during calendar year 1980, the Band had expenses of only $237.86. The Band received a small grant from the Michigan Council for the Arts during 1979-80 to secure special guest artists and for various Band promotional materials.

An annual pie sale started in 1991. Membership dues were initiated in 2002. Advertising in the printed program began with the 2004-2005 season. Some of the major advertisers of recent times include Armstrong Art Studio, Close to My Heart, Fourth Wish, Huron Valley Ambulance, Pentamere Winery, Ride-Life Photography, and the Ypsilanti Area Credit Union.

Although the Band always received relatively small amounts of money for performing at such events as the Yankee Air Museum Memorial Day activities and the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival, in 2003 YCB began receiving larger amounts of money for various summer performances. More intensive fund-raising for the Band’s general fund began around 2007, with a particular focus on solicitation of larger gifts and on soliciting concert sponsorships. Some of the major donors of recent times, including concert sponsorships, include an anonymous donor, Alan Aldworth, Suzanne Beutler, Mary Bowman, Don and Barbara Chaffin, Walton and Charlene Hancock, Jim and Mille Irwin, Catherine and Greg Mickle, and U Haul of South State Street.

As a result of these various fund-raising efforts, the band’s budget has increased rapidly in recent years to more than $22,000 per year, not including money related to the Bowman Scholarship Fund or the Bowman Music Fund. All personal services and use of space continue to be donated.

YCB - Governance Documents - Local documents: A constitution and bylaws document was drafted in the weeks immediately after the January 22, 1979 organizational meeting and quickly adopted. This document easily fit on a few sheets of paper and received minor amendments from time to time over the next 27 years. In 2006, the Board and the Band were persuaded to adopt a total replacement document—one of 15 pages in length—that some say is much better suited to a different type of organization than it is to the YCB. Further amendments were made in 2008. Board policies and reference material were put into handbook format and first issued for 2007-2008.

YCB – Governance Documents - State and Federal Documents: With the assistance of John Barr, long-time Ypsilanti City Attorney, who donated his services during the early years of the Band’s organization, various state and federal documents were prepared, including articles of incorporation and state and federal tax-related documents. Incorporators were Lynn Cooper, Amy Lawrence, Mark McClure, Glenn Fuller, Ken Bowman, Tim Vesey, Rosie Cooper, Harold Goodsman, Cheryl Waldenmeyer, and Giles Carter. The YCB has maintained 501(c) (3) status since the early years.

YCB - Officers and Board Members: YCB has been governed over the years by a 10-12 member Board of Directors elected from among the playing membership of the Band. Leadership of the YCB has been ably provided by its chairs/presidents over the years. The chairs of the Board were Mark McClure (1979-80), the late Harold Goodsman (1980-1986), Lisa Querfeld Muenzenberger (1986-1992), Jim McGraw (1992-2002) and Jennifer (Peters) Lowenberg (2002-2007). Meagan Bush (2007-2008) and Carter Adler (2008-present) have served as presidents of the band.

YCB – Publicity: The YCB has received generous publicity from the local-area print (and, to a lesser extent, electronic) media throughout its history, particularly from the former Ypsilanti Press. Using donated hosting services provided by WCC, YCB first posted a web site several years ago. With the help of donated design services, this site was substantially re-worked and the revisions went “live” in January 2008. It has since been expanded considerably in terms of the content included. The site may be found at

YCB - The Future: In 2006, the Board considered (and later formally adopted) a “Vision Statement” that provides that “by the year 2011, the Ypsilanti Community Band (YCB) can be described as follows: . . . . .” The Board subsequently adopted a Five-Year Plan and a succession of One-Year Plans to implement this “vision.”

At the time of this writing, the YCB is approximately half way through this five-year planning period and is generally “on schedule” (ahead in some respects, behind in others) to accomplish and implement all the provisions of the Five-Year Plan (and thus the provisions of the Vision Statement) by 2011.

Assuming this progress continues, by 2011 the YCB should be accomplishing, far better than ever, Lynn Cooper’s 1979 dream of a community concert band that would educate and stimulate members in addition to providing an entertaining opportunity for large and diverse audiences.

An expanded, detailed version of this history, with citations, is posted on the Band’s web site. For that and other information about the Ypsilanti Community Band, see the “About Us” section of

(Dr. Jerry Robbins, former Dean of the College of Education at Eastern Michigan University, has served as director of the Ypsilanti Community Band since 1998.)

Photo Captions:

Photo 1: Paul Stanifer, the Ypsilanti Community Band’s second conductor, leading the Band at Ypsilanti High School in 1986.
Photo 2: Harold Goodsman (right), a charter member of the Ypsilanti Community Band, who had 80 years of experience playing in area bands at the time of his death, and others in the YCB trumpet section at a 1990 concert.
Photo 3: Lynn Cooper conducts the first rehearsal of the Ypsilanti Community Band at Ypsilanti High School in February, 1979.
Photo 4: Jerry Robbins with the Ypsilanti Community Band in Recreation Park in June, 2004.
Photo 5:Ypsilanti Community Band in Pease Auditorium at Eastern Michigan University in December, 1987.
Photo 6: The third conductor of the Ypsilanti Community Band, Dr. Charles Lee, leads the band in a 1987 outdoor concert.
Photo 7: Founding Director Lynn Cooper conducts the Ypsilanti Community Band in Recreation Park in July, 1983.
Photo 8: Ken Bowman, the fourth conductor, leads the Ypsilanti Community Band in a 1993 concert.
Photo 9: YCB conductor Jerry Robbins as Paul Lavalle, in YCB re-creation of “Paul Lavalle and the Cities Service Band of America” radio broadcasts in October, 2007.
Photo 91: Ypsilanti Community Band in performance at the Red Cedar Festival of Community Bands in Okemos in February, 2007.
Photo 92: Ypsilanti Community Band in performance at the Red Cedar Festival of Community Bands in Okemos in February, 2007.
Photo 93: Ypsilanti Community Band in performance at Yankee Air Museum Memorial Day Ceremonies in May, 2007.
Photo 94: Charter (and continuous) YCB member Wayne Jahnke performs on his trombone during a 2004 concert of the Ypsilanti Community Band.
Photo 95: Erik Starnal performs a tuba solo with the Ypsilanti Community Band in concert at Washtenaw Community College in 2005.
Photo 96: Charter (and continuous) YCB member Lorne Kennedy (left) and Andrea Duval prepare for a 2006 Ypsilanti Community Band concert.