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Directors named for new community band

The members of Music Boosters are happy to announce the formation of an all-new community band under the expert direction of Larry Baisdon and Bill Gottschalk.

The band will consist of volunteer musicians from Pagosa Springs and surrounding areas and will include woodwinds, brass, percussion, strings and keyboard.

“Forming a community band is an idea that has been tossed around for a long time,” said Baisdon. “We are very grateful to Music Boosters for their support in helping make this idea a reality.”

The first meeting of the new band ensemble will be on Monday, Sept. 26, at 6:30 p.m. in the junior high school band room. All band musicians are invited to attend.

Even if you have not played your instrument in a while and are a little rusty, you are encouraged to dust off your instrument and come give it a try. Those attending will receive some of the music for the upcoming concert.

There will be two weeks of rehearsals before new members will be asked to play an informal audition to determine eligibility to play for the holiday concert.

“The audition is not meant to be intimidating,” says Bill Gottschalk. “It is simply a way for us to hear each player and determine their skills and abilities, mainly for part assignments. If they are not ready to play for the first concert, we hope they will continue to practice and come back to play with us in the spring and summer. We want this to be a band that the entire community will support and enjoy, and an opportunity for musicians to utilize their talents.”

Band members should be able to read music, have rhythmic and tonal accuracy, and be able to play easy to moderately difficult music.

Gottschalk further said that he hopes, ‘that a Community Jazz Band might eventually develop as an adjunct to the Community Band.”

Gottschalk and Baisdon are longtime friends and retired professional band directors. They have had extensive experience directing bands and will bring with them their knowledge and expertise, along with their strong community ties and desire to help our public school arts programs.

Larry Baisdon is a graduate of North Texas State University in Denton Texas, where he received his degree in Music Education, with a concentration in trumpet, and he is a trumpet student of John James Haynie. He also played French horn in the North Texas Concert Band for a semester. Baisdon received graduate credit in conducting, instrumental methods and wind literature at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. He held teaching positions in Eagle Pass, Texas; Clear Lake High School in Houston, where he taught band and orchestra; Crosby, Texas; and Bridge City, Texas. His bands received numerous awards in marching, concert, and sight reading in Texas UIL competitions, as well as many awards in festival competition. His Bridge City Wind Ensemble received a first division at the prestigious Texas State Wind Ensemble competition. Baisdon and his wife, Kathy, moved to Pagosa Springs in 2000, and they have both performed many times in the pit with high school and Music Booster shows, as well as singing in the Community Choir and their church choir. He is enthusiastic about the formation of Pagosa Springs’ band after so many years of discussion on the subject.

Gottschalk graduated with his B. M. Ed. and M. M. in music literature and woodwind performance from the University of Houston. After serving on the faculty at the University of Houston, where he served as the saxophone and woodwind instructor, and assistantmarching and concert band director, he spent the remainder of his career teaching band and jazz band in secondary schools. Gottschalk also performed in the Houston area in such diverse arenas from the Houston Symphony and Houston Pops, and Theater Under the Stars to various jazz clubs, performing under the baton of Arthur Fiedler of Boston Pops fame, and for Sammy Davis, Jr., Robert Goulet, Joe Morello, the Glenn Miller Band, Bob Hope, Rich Little, Judy Garland, Juliet Prowse, Wayne Newton, Jimmy Durante and numerous others. He and his wife, Sue, who is a former band director, and a trumpet player and vocalist, initially retired to Pagosa in 1996.

Music Boosters, the band’s sponsoring organization, has been in existence for twenty-two years in Pagosa Springs. Their mission is to produce musical and theatrical entertainment in support of performing arts in the schools and community. With the money they earn from their theatrical productions, Music Boosters provides four-year scholarships for students pursuing a major in performing arts or film, as well as much needed equipment for our music and theater programs at the schools. They also own an extensive collection of costumes, sets, and equipment that they willingly loan to the schools for their use.

Over the years, Music Boosters has provided many exceptional musical theater productions for our community, utilizing the volunteer skills of adults and students alike. Music Boosters is very fortunate to have a high-quality live instrumental music ensemble to accompany their actors and singers. These musicians have donated their time and talent over the years to bring a wonderful and exciting musical dimension to these productions.

The pit orchestra includes numerous retired band directors, former band members and some students from the high school as well.

“These players always enjoy playing together and are a little sad to disperse when the productions end. Having a community band will bring us all together to play on a regular basis. It will also allow us to use our skills in a number of diverse venues, allow us to explore a larger repertoire of music, and will provide a much needed mentoring opportunity for our band students,” said Baisdon.

“Music Boosters is very, very excited to sponsor the band,” said theater director Dale Johnson. “We always appreciate and stand in awe of the amazing talents that pour forth from our community. The instrumentalists add so much to our mission to support the arts in the schools, and our ability to provide assistance to our school arts programs will increase greatly from the development of this new band.”

The band is yet unnamed, so please bring your ideas to the first rehearsal. The new name will be selected from the suggestions given.

The band will make its first appearance at Music Boosters holiday production, “HollyDaze,” Dec. 9-10 at the new Pagosa Arts Center. If you have any questions, contact Sally Neel at 946-6468 or e-mail her at

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