If you go
What: “Auburn Community Band 30th Anniversary Concert”
When: 2 p.m. Sunday
Where: DeKalb Outdoor Theatre, 301 S. Center St., Auburn
There are no auditions to get into the Auburn Community Band and no one has ever been kicked out for not being good enough, according to its longtime president and one of its venerable trumpeters, Tom Laverghetta.
Instead, musicians who are having a little trouble keeping up with the rest are given unlimited free instruction and inexhaustible patience.
“People don’t sit there saying, ‘My god, you’re terrible,’ ” he says. “We don’t give up on anyone. Some of these people turn out to be the best players we’ve got.”
Laverghetta says this kid-gloves strategy has helped produce one of the better community bands around.
“I’d stack this band against any community band out there,” he says.
The Auburn Community Band will perform its 30th anniversary concert at 2 p.m. Sunday at the DeKalb Outdoor Theater.
Laverghetta is one of three current members who have been there since the beginning.
When a musician joins the Auburn Community Band, Laverghetta says, he or she may move forward or back in a section, depending on the level of proficiency demonstrated or the amount of TLC that is apparently needed.
“If they’re in a spot that’s too easy, we’ll move them up,” he says. “If they’re a little tentative, we’ll say, ‘How about you sit right there between these two guys and listen to what they do?’ ”
Laverghetta says participants have ranged in age over the years from 11 to 92.
And the 92-year-old, who died in 2011, may have benefited greatly from being around the adolescents, just as they doubtless benefited from being around him.
“He didn’t want anyone sitting next to him,” Laverghetta says. “He was the traditional grumpy old man. Then one day this young girl came in and she was having some trouble. And he told her, ‘If you hold it like this, …’ ”
“I looked at the guy next to me and said, ‘Is this the same Frank?’ ”
Laverghetta says the man “worked with a couple of kids that played French horn after that.”
The sort of adult musicians who are attracted to community bands and orchestras, Laverghetta says, are those who have finished their schooling and are still passionate about music but are not interested in pursuing it as a vocation.
Not many community bands and orchestras are open to younger teenagers and children, Laverghetta says, but the front office at the Auburn Community Band has long known that children are budding converts to the cause of community bands and orchestras.
The cause might need as many converts as it can get.
Even though recent data show that community bands and orchestras are more popular than ever, Laverghetta says, many of them only last five to seven years before dissolving.
The big issues for the ones that struggle are lack of money and lack of community support. Those have never been problems for the Auburn Area Community Band, he says.
“What has really kept us going is the people of Auburn,” he says.
The Auburn Community Band averages about 30 sponsors a season, Laverghetta says.
The band scarcely has to do much more every year, Laverghetta says, than gently remind people that the summer concerts are coming up, and the necessary financial support soon follows.
Laverghetta says the Auburn Community Band has become the accompanist-of-choice for all major events in the region.
“Everything that happens in Auburn, one of the first things people do is call the Auburn Community Band,” he says.
Like other community bands, the Auburn Community Band is beloved for marches.
But Laverghetta says the band plays almost everything, including “show tunes and music from movies like ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ and ‘Titanic,’ ” he says.
The band has also performed tributes to the music of Stevie Wonder and Paul Simon, he says.
Laverghetta’s day job is professor of electrical and computer engineering at IPFW. But music memorabilia competes for space in his office with textbooks.
“I tell people, ‘I teach electronic engineering technology but what I really do is music,’ ” he says.