A prodigal son returns come Sunday when the Klamath Falls Community Band performs its annual spring concert at the Ross Ragland Theater at 2 p.m.
A collective of local residents of varied backgrounds with a communal penchant for classical music, the community band will be joined for Sunday’s performance by saxophonist Rob Sheppard as a featured soloist. Sheppard is a former student of Rob Izzett from when Izzett taught music in Tualatin – now music instructor at Mazama High School and director of the Klamath Falls Community Band.
Sheppard is coming to Klamath as a way to thank Izzett for launching his passion for music, going from school bands to a professional career. Sheppard has performed with the California Jazz Conservatory, and in 2011 was selected for the Monterey Jazz Festival’s Next Generation Jazz Orchestra. An established jazz saxophonist and flutist, Sheppard has worked with popular contemporary artists such as Portugal. The Man, Ali Shaheed Muhammad of A Tribe Called Quest, and jazz-funk artist Louis Cole. Sheppard has also appeared on television programs such as “Glee,” “Veronica Mars” and Netflix’s “The Politician,” while recording music for programs like “TMZ” and the “Ellen DeGeneres Show.”
The spring concert is one of three concert performances by the Klamath Falls Community Band each year. The group continues a strong tradition that once permeated communities big and small across the country, where residents joined together to perform for special occasions.
Community bands in pioneering days were called upon to welcome dignitaries to town, lead parades, perform at festive communal events, and even serve a military role. Anyone who could pick up an instrument with relative precision was recruited to participate, each band forming an important cultural identity for the communities which they represented.
Over time the tradition of community bands has slowly died off, but former members and interested younger musicians have worked hard for several years to revive the cherished musical tradition of community bands for Klamath Falls.
There are no auditions to join, though prospective members are expected to carry a certain level of musical ability. Members range from students to seniors, including college credits available for Oregon Tech students who participate.
For the spring concert on Sunday, a variety of musical compositions will be performed set to the theme, “Out of the Woodwork.” Tickets for the concert are $12, with a discounted admission of $7 available for students and active military members. Children 12 and under are admitted free.
Tickets can be purchased in advance through the Ross Ragland Theater’s box office during regular business hours, or online at www.rrtheater.org.