Our Laguna: Mayor helps strike up the band

July 21, 2011|By Barbara Diamond
  • Honorary conductor Toni Iseman is conducts the Laguna Concert Band.
Honorary conductor Toni Iseman is conducts the Laguna… (Courtesy Scott…)

The Laguna Community Concert Band scored another hit performance Monday at the Festival of Arts.

The concert was a musical triumph that few would have imagined when the idea of a community band was first conceived over a cup of coffee in 1998 at Zinc Café. Founders Bill Nicholls, Teresa Marino and Carol Reynolds had come up with an idea whose time was long overdue.

In the beginning the band had to beg to be heard. Many in the audience at the early concerts were there because of their friendship with the original band members: local conductor Ed Peterson, musicians Dennis White, Ken Hanson, Sheryl Caverly, Niko Theris and the three founders.

The band has since grown to 60-plus members. Some of them, like Reynolds, a pianist, hadn't touched another instrument in years. Now she sits in a full brass section, playing the French horn.

"Who would have thunk it?" she said.


The band is always looking for good musicians. Rehearsals are held from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays at Laguna Beach High School. It's listed as a class through the Irvine Valley College Emeritus Institute, headed by Dave Anderson.

And the band welcomes enthusiastic guest conductors.

"We've been practicing for you," band President Matt Wood told Mayor Toni Iseman, who was invited to conduct "God Bless America" at Monday's concert.

Iseman was presented with a baton and a certificate conferring honorary band membership as a token of the band's appreciation. It was her second appearance with the band.

"It is one of the perks of being mayor," said Iseman, a music lover and mother of a musician.

Arts Commissioner Pat Kollenda has been tapped as guest conductor for the band's next gig at the festival Aug. 17. Kollenda will also serve as mistress of ceremonies for the performance, a task undertaken Monday by Lona Ingwerson.

"It is a big undertaking to get everything here and set up," said Jean Paris, wife of band member Jack Paris.

The musicians tote in their own music stands. Chairs, the backdrop, the scores and larger instruments, such as the vibraphone, have to be trucked in.

"It takes about three hours," Jean Paris said.

Sometimes longer.

On Monday, Steve Calhoun got stuck in traffic with his restored vibraphone. Vocalist Linda Hughes stepped in to take his place in the first set for "Blue Moon."

Coastline Pilot Articles Coastline Pilot Articles