TNCB History

The origins of the Town North Concert Band date back to early Spring 1966. The Dads Club of Walnut Hill Elementary School, Dallas, Texas, needed to increase their revenue and decided to hold a variety show. At the suggestion of Dads Club member Jim Spell, two other club members who marched in the SMU Mustang Band prior to WWII, Al Williams and Buddy King, recruited a handful of musicians from the Dads Club and performed as a jazz group for the show. They enjoyed getting together to play in a band and decided they would form a community concert band.

In April 1966, the nine founding members held a meeting in the kitchen of the band’s first business manager, Al Williams. The group consisted of members of the Walnut Hill Dads Club and some of their friends from work and church. They selected a director and business manager, identified a rehearsal location in the band room of Thomas Jefferson High School, and settled on a rehearsal schedule of every other Monday night. These details were documented in Dallas Morning News articles published in summer 1966 and 21 May 1967.

       Founding Members
       *Zeno P. “Buddy” King, trombone, Director
       *Al Williams, Eb French horn, Business Manager
       *Jim Spell, clarinet
       *Don Rardin, baritone
       *Sherwin Brotman, percussion
       Bob Meisch, Assistant Director
       George Mixon Jr., trombone
       Jack Brown, saxophone
       Colbert Peurifoy, clarinet

       *Performed in a jazz group for the Dads Club variety show at Walnut Hill Elementary School, Dallas, Texas, in late March or early April 1966.

The first rehearsal was 9 May 1966 with 14 people. In addition to the founding members, the other five people who attended the first rehearsal were Rev. Brownlee Hastings (trombone), Pete McRoberts (French horn), Sid McClain (clarinet), Bill Hart (cornet) and Sam Tschaikowsky. Dues were a $5 initiation fee and $12 per year, paid quarterly, according to the original bylaws.

The second rehearsal was 23 May with 19 people, and the third was on 13 June with about 25 people, according to an announcement for the third rehearsal. By May 1967, the band had 52 members and was rehearsing at the Preston Center branch of the Oak Cliff Savings and Loan. Band members typically had not played their instrument in about 20 years and were anxious to get back into playing music.

The name of the band came from the Town North neighborhood of north Dallas where almost all the founding members lived. The area where they lived was between Inwood Road and Marsh Lane and between Northwest Highway and I-635, not to be confused with the current Town North neighborhood on Town North Drive east of I-75. Back in the mid-1960s, the term Town North apparently referred to the entire Dallas area north of Northwest Highway.

Under the direction of Buddy King, the band performed free concerts at retirement homes and other venues, including Golden Acres and Presbyterian Village retirement homes, Denton State Supported Living Center, Dallas County Boys Home, the veterans hospital, and the Fair Park Espanade. When Larry Johnson took over the reins in 1974, he scheduled the band’s first paid performance at the Sanger Dept. Store.

The Town North Concert Band moved its rehearsals to Fannin Hall in Richland College starting in the early 1970s. For many years the band paid nothing to use the band hall for rehearsals, but later had to pay a fee that became the primary expense of the band. In 2014, the college reconfigured the room with large cabinets on all four walls, timpani and xylophones stored in the back, and the band squeezed onto risers that resulted in several falls at rehearsals. When the room was closed for refurbishment in summer 2019, the band found an alternate rehearsal location at Richardson United Methodist Church with plenty of room and no risers, which is where the band currently rehearses.

Over the decades, the Town North Concert Band has been a repeat featured performer at many annual special events in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Venues included the Pioneer Ball of German Day in Texas, Starlight Band Concerts at Fair Park, the Korean War Programs at the Dallas VA Medical Center, the Memorial Day Service at Restland Memorial Park, and the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. The band also has received letters of appreciation for some of its free performances. The band now performs largely at Dallas-area retirement centers, some of whose residents were early members of this band.

Leadership is key to any community organization, and the Town North Concert Band had strong leadership for 34 years until the sudden death of director Joe Brown. Like his predecessors, Joe was a professional music educator who understood the unique needs of community bands, especially the need to have fun at rehearsals. After Joe’s death in 2000, the band struggled to find and retain band directors with the musical skills, patience, and humor to lead a community band. After 2018, the band decided to operate under the direction of a trio of current band members with directing experience, patience, and a good sense of humor until the band finds a full-time director with these skills.

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