Welcome to the New Orleans Concert
Band. The purpose of this handbook is
to acquaint new members with band’s
goals, history, legal framework, staff,
rehearsal and concert schedule and
important issues germane to the Band’s
operation and performances.
The mission of New Orleans Concert
Band is to provide free public concerts
by volunteer musicians to the public
of the greater New Orleans area, to
encourage and foster adult concert
community, municipal, and civic bands,
and to promote the performance of
the highest quality traditional and
contemporary literature for band. This
tradition of musical altruism started in
1975, the year the band was formed.
A Volunteer Band
The band members are all volunteers, and we play in the band out of a love for music, a desire to play, and to enjoy the company of others who share similar interests. The conductor and associate conductor are also volunteers as is the band librarian. The Board of Directors, which serves by vote of the band members, likewise is comprised of volunteers. There are no paid employees and no paid “ringers.” We as band members volunteer our time, our talent, and for most of us, our instruments.
The band is open to mature musicians of all abilities but admission is subject either to audition or to invitation. While many of our members are serious musicians, others are more casual players. Band members are expected to judge their own skill, and to choose parts suited to their abilities. For example, it is not inappropriate to “sit out” certain difficult passages during concerts if you feel uncomfortable playing them. Just don’t let it happen too often! The band encourages its members to practice their instruments on their own time; rehearsals are designed to integrate the sonorities of the various instruments as well
as sight read new works.
To insure that each part is capably played during concerts, the members of each section work together to “divide the load.” Typically, the more experienced musicians will spread themselves out, so that no part is lacking a capable player. And the “honor” of playing the first seat in each
section is often shared in turn among the musicians who feel comfortable playing the lead part. The conductor is the musical director and will work with each section to assign parts as necessary.
The band plays a variety of music. Like any community band, we have a repertoire of patriotic songs and marches suitable for national holidays and municipal celebrations. In addition to such standards, we also play a variety of classical and popular tunes adapted for band, favorites from movies, opera and Broadway plays, holiday tunes, as well as standard concert band literature. Our music is graded medium –advanced to advanced.
Except for the percussion instruments, music stand, and a few chairs, the band music is about the only tangible thing we own. The librarian is responsible for the acquisition, cataloging, and storage of our music, which is currently maintained at U.N.O. As the music goes, so goes the band. You are welcome to take the music home with you to practice and make a copy if needed, but you must bring the music back each week. If you are need on an additional part, you can locate one in the folder labeled “Active”,
which is located in the black cabinet in the band room.
The Board of Directors in is charge of the band’s business affairs such as approval of expenditures, applying for grants, and arrangement of the concert schedule and guest conductors. The conductor is responsible for selection of music for rehearsals and concerts, and placement of musicians within the band. You as a band member are responsible for keeping your music organized within the folder, for practicing, and playing the music enjoyable to both band members and the audience.
The band is an active “performing” group which plays a number of public concerts. Its series of annual concerts include those played for Veterans Day, Christmas, Mid-Spring, Spring, and July 3rd and 4th. A specific concert schedule is established and published at the beginning of the band’s year, which begins after Labor Day, but
occasionally we accept special requests for concerts, based on appropriateness and our availability. We generally ask band members if they are interested in such a concert, and we base our decision based on the availability of our members.
There is no formal uniform for outdoor concerts, but we generally wear white polo or golf shirts and black pants, shorts or skirts. Polo shirts bearing the band’s logo are available for sale at a nominal cost. For special occasions, such as Christmas and Spring concerts, we wear more formal dress.
Concerts may not be recorded by anyone other than authorized band recording engineers, and neither audio nor video reproductions of concerts may be posted to social media web sites.
Rehearsals are held every Tuesday from Labor Day until July 4 and from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the U.N.O. band room. However, dress rehearsals and rehearsals with conflicts with UNO events are held in the recital hall. We ask that you are in your seat and ready to play promptly on time. If you expect to be late or absent for rehearsal, it is your responsibility to notify your section leader as well as the conductor, either by telephone or electronic means. Continued absences without notification suggests indicate a loss of interest in the band and may result in the termination of your membership. If you do arrive late, we ask that you enter the band room quietly and in a manner not to disturb the rehearsal.
U.N.O has been very gracious in providing us with the rehearsal space and in return they ask that we follow their rules of not eating or drinking in the band room. Additionally, at the end of each rehearsal, all chairs are to be stacked in the appropriate receptacles and music stands are to be replaced in the stand racks.
We rehearse throughout the year and take a brief break between Christmas and Mid-January as well as at the end of the summer. Occasionally when a concert is approaching the conductor may schedule additional rehearsals, or ask that rehearsal start earlier or end later than scheduled. These requests are usually announced the week before.
If a conflict with a concert date and a member’s schedule occurs, the member is required to notify the Conductor so that a replacement can be obtained if necessary. All members are expected to attend the two rehearsals immediately preceding a concert. The Conductor has the
right to ask a player who misses one or both rehearsals not to perform but is permitted to rejoin the band at the next rehearsal after the concert.
Unless excused in advance by the Conductor, members who are also members of other musical organizations are expected to attend rehearsals and play our concerts. If a member has three consecutive absences without advance notification to the conductor or section leader, the member will be contacted by the Board to determine the member’s intention to remain a band member. When single nonconsecutive absences occur frequently and without notification, the Board will similarly contact the player.
NOCB receives its operating funds in the form of dues from its members, donations from the community, and grants from public and private sources. The dues are presently $50 per year for adults and $25 for students and are due at the beginning of October. The dues are used to cover the costs of operating the band and include the purchase of music, music stands, and truck rentals for concerts. Other sources of funds are used for capital expenditures such as replacing percussion and other band equipment. Members
are expected to pay their dues on a timely basis, and the payment of dues is a prerequisite to remaining as a member in good standing.
The Band’s Legal Framework
The band is a 501(c)(3) entity and is organized as a
Louisiana non-profit corporation. Members are entitled to receive a copy of our bylaws upon request.
The governance of the band rests with its Board of Directors which is elected by the members. The board consists of a president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, five board members at large, and the immediate past president. The board serves for one year, whose term runs from July 1 to June 30. An election is held the Tuesday after
the May concert during the annual meeting. All active band members in good standing are eligible to vote in the board and officer election. The membership meetings are held during the year and at regularly scheduled band rehearsals.
The Board of Directors meetings are held periodically and at least quarterly on dates as determined by the President. There are several committees that handle specific tasks and other ad hoc committees are appointed on an as need basis. Board members and officers are expected to attend these meetings.
Peter Dombourian founded the New Orleans Concert Band in 1975 in response by his former band students at Alcee’ Fortier High School and remained its conductor for over 15 years. The Associate Conductor was his friend
and colleague, Milton Bush, with whom Mr. Domborian also shared conducting responsibilities with the New Orleans Pops. Mr. Bush conducted the band until 1998. Subsequently, Dr. Richard Dugger, the UNO Director of Bands, was named to the position. Dr. Charles Taylor, UNO’s current Director of Bands, currently holds the baton and is the current Conductor.
The NOCB has performed at numerous venues, including the City of New Orleans 4th of July fireworks display, the National World War II Museum, Lafreniere Park, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and the American Association of Concert Band Convention. It has also performed in Pensacola and Houston.
The band maintains a web site, which can be accessed at neworleansconcertband.org. It is also found on Facebook. Concerts are publicized in the Times-Picayune newspaper as well as in other print and television media. The web site features a more comprehensive history of the band as
well as a schedule of concerts. Photos of the band are also prominently featured on the web site, and members are encouraged to view it periodically for updates.
Communication to members is made through e
mail, and all members should expect to provide their e mail and cellular telephone numbers to the band so that they may receive messages and reminders.