McKINNEY (April 1, 2016) — The McKinney Community Band (MCB) will treat its audience to an afternoon “at the movies” on Sunday, April 10, when the all-volunteer band will perform melodies and themes from some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters.
Now celebrating its 10th year, the band is celebrating another special milestone at the April 10 “Music of the Movies” free concert. It’ll be their first concert with two new leaders on the podium – new Artistic Director/Conductor Jeremy Kondrat and Associate Conductor Elmer Schenk.
“We began our search for a new music/artistic director late last fall, and auditioned candidates during our January rehearsals,” said Tom Evans, MCB president. “The board and band are so pleased to have found two such highly-esteemed music educators to lead our band into its next phase. They are both fine musicians in their own right and we look forward to the impact their knowledge and enthusiasm for music will bring to our organization.”
Kondrat, who is currently the Coordinator of Instrumental Music in the Plano Independent School District, previously taught high school band programs in Plano, McKinney and Cudahy, Wis. He has a Bachelors degree in music education and trombone performance from the Eastman School of Music and a Masters degree in trombone performance from the University of Northern Colorado.
Schenk, a graduate of the University of North Texas, was a music educator for 40 years (most of that time spent at Howe High School) and although retired from teaching, is still a much-sought-after band clinician and mentor, as well as being a member of the Plano Community Band, Frisco Jazz Band and the McKinney Dance Band.
In their new positions, Kondrat and Schenk will work together on music selection and programming of the band’s performances while sharing time conducting. The band’s Director Emeritus and co-founder, Bill Sleeper, retired as the band’s music director/conductor a year ago and now performs in the band’s percussion section. He will return to the podium from time to time, too.
Kondrat was first introduced to the MCB, knowing the band was looking for a new conductor, when he attended their 2015 Christmas concert.
“I immediately fell in love with this wonderful group of people; they love to play heartfelt and exciting music together. From my first experience with the McKinney Community Band, I could tell there was something very special about this group,” Kondrat said. “I love the energy and vibe [of this band of volunteer musicians]. Their passion for the band itself and for creating meaningful and memorable musical experiences for each other and their audiences inspires me tremendously. This band displays a sincerity of music-making and heart-and-soul I’ve not found anywhere else.”
The April 10 concert features a variety of iconic melodies from top movie score composers including John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, James Horner, Alan Silvestri and Danny Elfman.
Kondrat and Schenk are already working on music selections for the band’s upcoming concerts and have plans for the band that include working to bring a world-renowned soloist to perform with the band, as well as featuring members of the band as soloists.
“I see the band exploring wide genres of music from cinema like this concert, patriotic, band classics, new compositions, orchestral transcriptions, jazz, and much more,” Kondrat said of future plans for the band’s repertoire. “I believe the McKinney Community Band will bring great recognition to the City of McKinney as one of the leading community bands in our area. I’m excited to be part of their story.”
The McKinney Community Band’s performance calendar is set for 2016, including an upcoming performance at the Pecan Grove Historic Cemetery Annual Memorial Day event where they will provide the pre-event music as well as during the ceremony itself. Their regular public concerts, always free to the public with no tickets needed and all taking place at the McKinney Performing Arts Center, include:
- Sunday, July 10, 4 p.m. – Patriotic/Summer Concert
- Saturday, Oct. 1, 7:30 p.m. – Fall Concert
- Sunday, Dec. 11, 4 p.m. – Christmas Concert