The purpose of any band is to give enrichment and joy to life. We hold that live music is enriching, exciting, and exhilarating to both performers and audience. It should be available to all people to either play, or listen to, as they desire. We see our dual mission as creating an environment in which people of any ability or degree of band experience can enjoy the benefits of playing, while bringing live music to people in the community who may not otherwise have it to enjoy.
Our band is governed by a Board of Directors, which is elected from the membership. Additionally, there are a number of jobs that are done by volunteers within the band. Our band does charge a modest tuition, set by the board, and sufficient to cover expenses. Our bylaws can be viewed here. Our operating policy & procedures can be viewed here.
The genesis of ATSB was Shorecrest High School senior Kirstin Klepp who, as her senior project, started an adult beginning band. The original group was called The Second Chance Band and had its first concert on April 5, 1999. When the senior project was concluded, the band members continued on under the direction of John Law, a music teacher at Shorecrest High School (and Kirstin’s high school mentor and elementary band teacher). ATSB was founded in late 1999 as Community Bands Northwest. John Law passed the baton to director Mike Irons, a middle school music teacher, late in 2002. Shorecrest High School science teacher, Vince Santo Pietro, was the band’s coordinator from 1999 until spring of 2002 when a board of directors was formed. The organization reached a critical milestone in 2003 when it incorporated as a non-profit organization. In 2004, the name was officially changed to the Around The Sound Community Band, because we play around the Puget Sound.
In early 2008, the baton was passed to Michael Alstad, executive director of Music Center of the Northwest. Mr. Alstad served as director until Summer of 2018. Under his leadership, the band grew to 70 members, began giving formal concerts, and formed a partnership with Music Center of the Northwest. In 2013, ATSB became an international band and performed at the Ladner Band Festival in British Columbia, Canada. In 2015, the band hired Anita Kumar, a music doctoral student at University of Washington, as its first assistant director. Ms. Kumar served as assistant director until Summer 2018.
In the Fall of 2018, the directorship was passed to Tyson Sterne, band and orchestra teacher at McClure Middle School in Seattle. Mr. Sterne has also performed with several brass ensembles, as well as the 234th Army Reserve Band. In Summer of 2019, Mr. Sterne left the band, when his family relocated to another state.
In Spring of 2019, the band celebrated its 20th anniversary. To mark this event, we had a special concert including all our directors past and present. This concert can be viewed on our YouTube page.
In late summer of 2019, Lauren Hepburn became our 6th director. Ms. Hepburn is a Pacific Northwest Native with experience in many performing groups and ensembles. Ms. Hepburn did her graduate work in music education at the University of Washington. She has also taught middle school band, orchestra and choir.
March of 2020 brought about an immediate end to all in person band rehearsals and concerts due to the COVID-19 virus. We managed to stay together with email activities and Zoom meetings. We also experimented with online performance platforms. But by the end of 2020, it became clear that we could no longer financially sustain the organization at its pre-pandemic levels. We made the difficult decision to go without a director for the duration of the pandemic. In the meantime, past director Tyson Sterne was enlisted to help us with virtual activities from afar, and until we could again gather together as a group. We used Zoom to meet and the Upbeat platform to record music, which Tyson Sterne assembled into a group performance. We produced our first virtual concert in Spring 2021, titled BANDEMIC. This concert can be viewed on our YouTube page.
In summer 2021, the band began a search for a new permanent director. In late September 2021, Dr. Marcus J. Pimpleton became our 7th director. Dr. Pimpleton is a Northwest Native with extensive experience teaching music and directing bands for Seattle Public Schools. He is currently Executive Director of Secondary Schools for the Marysville School District. Dr. Pimpleton continues to serve as Director and Program Coordinator for the Seattle Schools All-City Marching Band and as an Assistant Director with the University of Washington Husky Athletic Bands.
Since 1999, the ATSB has maintained a stable core of players. Staying true to our beginnings, we continue to welcome musicians at any level of playing ability. The group practices once a week to hone its skills and prepare for concerts. ATSB performs at public concerts, community events, band festivals, and other venues. The ATSB performs a wide range of concert band, marching, pop, show themes, and other types of music.
You might be interested to know:
Community bands in the United States trace their lineage to the English brass bands of the early 19th century. It is unknown when the first brass band was founded in England, but two of the oldest are the Besses O’ The Barn Brass Band and the Black Dyke Mills Brass Band. By 1860, there were more than 700 brass bands in England. Brass bands were quite common in the United States by the time of the Civil War. Although brass bands were an important part of life in nineteenth-century America, they were superseded by larger concert and marching bands in the early years of the 20th century. The historical brass band typically consisted of eleven cornets, one flugelhorn, three tenor horns, two baritones, two euphoniums, two tenor trombones, one bass trombone, four tubas, and three percussionists. The Around The Sound Community Band (ATSB) is a prime example of the extended heritage of the brass band. It not only includes the historically influenced lineup of trumpets, trombones, tubas, french horns, baritones, and percussion, but also includes clarinets, saxophones, oboes, bassoons, and flutes. The addition of the expressive wind instruments places the band squarely in the concert band milieu. (Contributed by historian and former ATSB Tuba player Dale Stirling.)
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