Cereal City Concert Band Names New Conductor
Thirty years ago, a handful of local musicians who worked at the Battle Creek Federal Center formed a community band, called “Uncle Sam’s Band.” The band has evolved and continued to grow over those three decades. Somewhere along the way, it became the Cereal City Concert Band (CCCB). This week they announced that they’ve hired a new director. Dr. Stephen G. White takes the baton from current director Darin Schmidt who is headed for China to take a job as a school principle.
Dr. White is a professional music educator, and was a band director at the high school and college level for many years. He has served various churches as organist and choirmaster throughout the Midwest, South and Southwest, and has been the Director of Music & Organist at St. Thomas Episcopal Church since February of 2011.
Dr. White says his job is to balance two things: He says he needs to choose music for the band that fits with the family lives of its busy members, and also program music that will challenge band and still be accessible to the listeners. “We want to encourage families to come to our concerts and to offer things that appeal to kids,” said Dr. White.
Dr. White says it’s like making a big sandwich. “You want a little bit of meat, but not too much. You add a variety of veggies and cheese, spices and condiments”. He says the band will mix serious works, with some movie soundtracks, and classic features such as “Lassus Trombone”, “Clarinet Candy” and “Bugler’s Holiday.” And, he says he thinks it’s important to always play a march, since they are unique to wind bands in America.
The CCCB will be performing at the Memorial Day ceremonies at Fort Custer National Cemetery, and their first big concert under Dr. Stephen White will be this fall. The theme will be “Of Coasts and Heartland: An American Music Tapestry.” The group will feature all American composers.
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Dr. Stephen G. White’s credentials:
- Bachelor’s Degree in Music from Michigan State.
- Masters in Music from Northwestern.
- PhD in Music Education from Florida State.
He maintains an active schedule as a freelance musician, organ recitalist, and adjudicator/consultant for the Michigan Competing Band Association (MCBA) and Michigan School Band & Orchestra Association (MSBOA). Additionally, he maintains active memberships in the American Guild of Organists, the Association of Anglican Musicians, and the College Music Society.
Dr. White’s principle teachers include:
- John Paynter and James Croft for Wind Conducting
- Clifford Madsen and Bennett Reimer for Music Education
- Corliss Arnold, Wolfgang Rübsam, and Michael Corzine for Organ
- Andre Thomas and Rodney Eichenberger for Choral Conducting.
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