The 100 Mile House Community Band is on the hunt for new members.
Eric Grummisch, president of the community band steering committee, said the group is looking for musicians of all ages and experience levels to help bolster the ranks. If you don’t know how to play an instrument, band members are happy to help you learn, he added.
“If we have 30 people breaking down our doors to play with us, that would be a great problem to have. We’re happy to take whoever wants to come out and play with us,” Grummisch said.
Rehearsals begin Tuesday, Oct. 3, and continue every Tuesday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Christ the King Lutheran Church at 440 Horse Lake Road throughout the winter.
Grummisch got his first taste of music as a child taking clarinet lessons and later joined his high school band, playing clarinet and saxophone. He put his love of music largely on hold while he raised his family after they moved to Vancouver in 1978, until his retirement to the South Cariboo in 2011.
Here, Grummisch said he resolved to get back into music again. The 100 Mile Community Band, then run by its founder Jack Fellner, welcomed him. He’s been playing with them ever since.
“Playing music is a challenge. It’s enjoyable to meet the challenge and set goals for yourself,” Grummisch said. “It’s great to be part of an ensemble, especially when you’re playing well because I enjoy listening to the music.”
He compared playing music to the thrill other people get from extreme sports.
“It’s a strange comparison but in many ways it’s similar to adrenaline sports like white water rafting. You’re in the moment and your everyday worries and concerns (just fade away). You just think about what’s in front of you, the music, so it’s a bit of an escape from your day-to-day routine.”
Grummisch said playing music is great for his mental and physical health. Learning and reading music keeps his mind sharp while breath control keeps him fit.
Over the years, the band’s numbers have fluctuated. At its peak, the group had 24 players with every instrument in a classic concert band “well-represented,” he said. Then during the COVID-19 pandemic, the band went on hiatus for two years. By the time they reunited in 2022, their numbers had dwindled to 10.
“People moved on physically or had moved on to different interests, which left us with a bit of a dearth of members,” Grummisch said.
When they started performing again last year, Grummisch said they had to adapt to cover the gaps left by absent musicians. Musical director Dave Hooper took to playing a keyboard, while their musical choices went from mostly concert pieces to more jazzy and pop-style songs.
Bringing in new blood is something the entire band is looking forward to, Grummisch said. Hooper is a former music teacher who he says is happy to teach people how to play – something he did for their saxophone player, Ludwig Lueke, last year.
“He had never played a note. He applied himself and practiced an hour or two every day and he’s now sitting with us every rehearsal and doing really well,” Grummisch said. “At the South Cariboo Garlic Festival (last month) he even played a solo.”
Anyone looking to sign up is asked to contact Grummisch at 250-706-5076 or firstname.lastname@example.org.