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Making music for the fun of it!

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Photos by Annette Brand Sharing a joy of creating music together, musicians gather Monday nights at the Cedaredge Assembly of God to practice together. Sound like fun? The Cedaredge community band welcomes anyone wanting to make music together.

On Monday nights from 7:00 to 8:30 a group of people that likes playing music for the enjoyment and fun of playing gather in the sanctuary of Cedaredge Assembly of God. Their likeminded conductor is Grady Weiszbrod.

Some Monday evenings different members can't attend, but those who can are there with their instruments and enthusiasm.

On Monday, April 10, conductor Grady Weiszbrod, trombone, was present along with Janice Jones, flute; Laurae Fortner-Walsh, flute and piccolo; Jo Smith, clarinet; Bob Clark, alto saxophone; Dick Whitton, tenor saxophone; and John Shriver, trombone.

They had a lively session practicing rousing patriotic music for a concert in July.

Other members who play regularly are Dave DeVinny, trumpet; McKenzie Moore, flute; Lucas Vader, trumpet; and Shea Percival, percussionist.

Occasionally they are joined by Dr. Sam Kevan, trombone, and Bruce Joss, percussionist.

Pianist Sharon Clark assists the community band as composer/arranger.

The band has played in two Cedaredge Parade of Lights and played a Christmas concert on the steps of the Cedaredge Chamber of Commerce building during last year's Cedaredge Parade of Lights. The band will be included in the Community Concert Series for a performance this summer.

John Shriver began playing trombone in the summer before he entered the fourth grade. "The trombone was taller than I," John said. "I couldn't reach past fourth position."

John also played guitar in high school. He joined the Cedaredge community band three Christmases ago for the parade of lights.

Dick Whitton has been playing the tenor saxophone since 1951 when he was in junior high school. He also plays alto saxophone and clarinet. He has played in dance bands over the years.

"A friend told me there was a band getting together in Cedaredge," Dick said, "so I contacted Grady and joined the band in April of last year."

Janice Jones began playing the flute when she was in fifth grade.

"After the Cedaredge community band played in the parade of lights three years ago, I wanted to be a part of this band," Janice said. "I approached Larry Claxton, who had been instrumental in starting the band, and asked him, 'What do you have to do to get in that band?'"

Larry replied, "You have to have not played your instrument since high school." Being thus qualified, Janice joined the Cedaredge community band immediately.

Laurae Fortner-Walsh began playing the flute and piccolo when she was about six years old. She has played the piano since college. "I live for music," Laurae said.

She also plays with a group of three -- two pianos and a violin. "We play to entertain ourselves," she said.

Laurae heard about the Cedaredge community band at the time it was organizing and has been a part of it from its beginning.

Music has been an important part of Bob Clark's life since sixth grade, when he started playing saxophone. He also plays piano, "messed with" guitar for about ten years, and plays harmonica "just on my own." He sings in his church choir and the Valley Symphony Chorus. He played tenor saxophone for two years with Western State College Band. He joined Cedaredge community band when it started.

"I felt like I was forgetting things, not as active in several areas as I had been before, and I wanted to challenge myself, clear my mind and learn new things. Music helps with all that," said Bob.

"I used to play tenor sax, but I needed an alto sax, so I bought one to play in the band."

Jo Smith began playing clarinet in the fourth grade and she also plays piano. About six months ago, Bob Clark said to Jo, "You need to join our band."

She said, "Find me a clarinet." Bob brought Jo a clarinet and she joined the band. "I had not played in 50 years," Jo said, but she was obviously enjoying playing Monday night, and her foot, along with everyone else's foot, was keeping time.

Conductor Grady Weiszbrod never had a period when he neglected music. He has been active in music all his life.

Grady graduated Cedaredge High School in 1964. He earned a bachelor's in music from Western State College in 1967. He earned a master's in music from Morehead State University in Morehead, Ky.

When he was in the Army, Grady played in the 6th Army Band at Presidio of San Francisco, Calif.

Always pursuing additional knowledge and understanding in music, Grady also attended University of Colorado and San Francisco State. He acquired 30 hours of credits toward a doctorate in music from North Texas State at Denton, Texas.

He taught music for 12 years at Southwestern Assembly of God University in Waxahachi, Texas, which is 30 miles south of Dallas.

Grady was church music director for Woodlake Assembly of God Church in Tulsa, Okla., for 12 years.

Back in Colorado, Grady taught music for three years in Steamboat Springs and three years in Fruita Monument High School.

He currently serves as music director for Cedaredge Assembly of God.

Grady said when the call went out for people interested in playing in the Cedaredge community band, 18 people attended the first meeting.

"It's a good group," Grady said. "We welcome anybody."

Dick Whitton added, "The people who come are dedicated. Some have not played since they were in school. It's a challenge and they try hard and everyone enjoys the opportunity to play.

"Grady is wonderful and gives us good guidance. We need more people to play. It's an opportunity for anyone with music in their background. No one will feel out-classed; we're not professional musicians.

"The community band is a delightful experience and I look forward to it every week."

Janice Jones commented, "It's the most patient and tolerant group I've ever been in. We have a good time."

Laurae Fortner-Walsh finds it good to play with this group. "It's a good source for an opportunity to participate in the community, in a musical way.

"Music is a wonderful gift. Playing with others who love music is magic," Laurae said.

Bob Clark commented, "I stopped playing in 1960, and I picked it back up three years ago. After about two years I found the ability to play was still there.

"I would say to others, 'give it a try'. It's challenging and you have to practice a little bit, but it's fun."

Jo Smith agreed: "It's a lot of fun."

John Shriver kept his trombone since fourth grade. "It's the only trombone I have ever had. I had it relacquered once. And now I am playing it in this community band. I enjoy music, I sing, and I come back every week just to enjoy playing this music.

"Grady does an excellent job bringing us together and we have fun with him as the director of this small group," John said.

Grady Weiszbrod welcomes a call from anyone wanting more information about the Cedaredge community band. Grady can be reached at 1-918-381-2269, cell phone, or home phone 970-856-1063.

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