Onstage Orange City: Orange City Area Community Band

ORANGE CITY – It’s been 17 years. Wednesday, July 9 will be Carla Van Beek’s final evening as director of the Orange City Area Community Band.

The concert, part of the Onstage Orange City series, will begin at 7:00pm in Windmill Park. Sponsors are CIVCO Medical Solutions and Fareway, in conjunction with the Orange City Arts Council.

Van Beek began as director of the Community Band in 1997, recruited by Joyce Bloemendaal, then director of the Arts Council. Of course, Van Beek and music have been a duo all of her life… young Carla played piano and flute, and teenage Carla served as drum major for the Rock Valley marching band. She fell in love with all three.

After the Van Beek children started school, she returned to college at Northwestern, then taught at Hospers Christian School. She became band director at Unity Christian High in ’96.

And she played in the community band, under directors Steve Connell and Brad Miedema, prior to taking the baton herself.

It’s amazing, said Van Beek, that these high school and adult musicians can get together for one night of rehearsal – “90 minutes in a hot and humid garage, the back of the bandshell” – and create wonderful music. Obviously they are outstanding musicians, she said.

Of course, those night-before-the-concert rehearsals don’t always go smoothly. Plans change, and Van Beek hustles to find another trumpeter or percussionist. Or the weather refuses to cooperate.

“One rehearsal night, the tornado siren went off… we ended up in the basement of the Vogel paint store!” she said. Dave Bloemendaal, tuba player for the band, had his keys to the Vogel-Vande Brake store, and led the troops, leaving his oversized instrument to fend for itself.

Van Beek has loved finding music with audience appeal: marches, musicals, Disney songs, hymn arrangements, and patriotic tunes. In fact, her first concert as director – July 9, ’97 – was a patriotic concert, so July 9, ’14 will be also. The show will include Washington Post March, Semper Fidelis, Stars and Stripes, El Capitan, Colonel Bogey, and Armed Forces Salute.

Van Beek commends the Orange City Arts Council and City of Orange City for their long commitment to the band… and she has so many people to thank, including the audience, the performers, and her husband Arlo, that she could go on for days.

The July 9 concert will be the second community band concert this summer. The final will be held July 30, with Dan Mangold directing.

The concert will follow the Orange City Community appreciation meal. Bring a blanket or lawn chairs.

Rain location is Unity Christian Knight Center. For more information or weather-related announcements, contact the Orange City Arts Council: ocArts@orangecityiowa.com or 712.707.4885 or see orangecityarts.net.