In late 1991 Betty Springer, while she was Director of the Southlake Chamber of Commerce, became intrigued with the idea of developing an area concert band. Though not a musician herself, Betty had a son that was involved in a drum and bugle corps, and had noticed some discussion about community musical groups on the Chamber’s computer bulletin board. With the help of other interested persons, including high school band boosters president and co-founder Dennis Westmoreland, an organizational meeting was convened at Carroll Middle School for all interested adults. Thus, on January 7th, 1992, the Southlake Community Band was formed. At that time the band was called the Lake Cities Community Band
Initial membership was about 25 people, all of whom were ‘former’ players. Many had not touched their instruments since high school, and for some, that was often 10, 15 or more years ago. Larry Samartin, a professional musician in the New York / New Jersey area since age 15, accepted the baton as the first conductor of the Band. After just 8 rehearsals, the group’s first performance was given on April 3rd, 1992, as the finale act of the Carroll High School Variety Show. The performance was great, the standing ovation was deafening, and the Band’s foundation for the future was firmly laid.
With donations from the Cities of Grapevine and Southlake, the Band hired its first professional director, Ms. Carol Lynn Mizell. By the next concert on May 16, 1992, the Band had already grown to 65 people and had developed a full program of music. That first concert included Sousa marches, Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, Broadway’s Man of La Mancha, the Armed Forces Salute, and much more — 10 pieces in all. Concerts continued throughout that first summer in Grapevine and Southlake. The Band also participated in joint programs with groups in Plano and Denton.
Since October of 1992, Mr. David Stone has been Conductor and Musical Director for the Band. Mr. Stone, a graduate of the University of Iowa, was Band Director of the Carroll Middle School and had a strong interest in helping adult players continue their musical education. Under his expert guidance, the Southlake Community Band has become one of the premier community musical groups in the North Texas area, and today boasts a wide ranging performance repertoire with new and challenging additions every month.
In 1997, the Southlake Swing Band was established, and is now in full ‘swing’ under the direction of Mr. Paul Elder. This group specializes in music of the ‘Big Band’ era of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, still extremely popular today. In addition the highly accomplished Lake Cities Brass Quintet represents the Band at many functions. Both of these ensembles contribute greatly to the character and overall success of the Band, and the contributions they raise assist the entire band in meeting its financial commitments.
Now boasting nearly 70 members, the Southlake Community Band is a vital part of the vibrant Northeast Tarrant County arts and entertainment community.