- Gig Harbor Living Local
Narrows Music Society of Gig Harbor Opens Up Opportunities
Local musicians look forward to a fruitful year
By Rachel Kelly | Photo Courtesy of Harbor Winds
The Narrows Music Society of Gig Harbor recently celebrated 10 years of community music. The music society, founded by Sheryl Clark, began as a community of musicians gathered to fill a gap. There is a lot of musical talent in the local area but no opportunity to play in the community. The ensemble Harbor Winds was formed and began to perform in community concerts. Eventually a community board was formed, made up of active community members, players and music lovers. Today, Sheryl still serves on the community board as secretary and is very much involved in all of its community activities. But now, with so much community involvement, the Narrows Music Society of Gig Harbor has grown to be so much more than how it began.
“For me, the Narrows Music Society opened up opportunities,” says Corey Berman, president of the community board. Corey has a music background, and when he first moved to Gig Harbor he started playing with the Pacific Orchestra. For that ensemble he was playing piano. But upon talking to the trumpet player, he heard about Harbor Winds and soon became involved in that ensemble. There he met the lead of the ensemble, Eric Swanson, who is passionate about including kids in community ensembles and concerts. Corey understands the importance of emphasizing community involvement in students, who are encouraged to pursue music beyond high school by the example of the adults in the ensembles. Corey’s story is not unique in that when you get involved in the music society, the connections between people and music open up.
From one connection comes another, and with collaboration comes greater cohesion and encouragement to pursue other variations of musical interest. The Narrows Music Society is about making those connections, meeting a great group of people, and expanding those musical opportunities. Every community benefits from an investment in the arts of music and performance, the sharing of talents, which reaches the communal heart.
Along that same spirit of inclusion, the Narrows Music Society of Gig Harbor focuses on and provides an opportunity and venue for student performance. Opportunities such as Harbor Winds focus on young artists who play with the ensemble. During the performance, a high school soloist is selected to play for the enjoyment of the greater community. They also make a point of offering community invitations to enjoy experienced musicians, musicians who often have a heart themselves for community involvement and musical education; such as the saxophonist from Pacific Lutheran University, who will perform in May. In October, the society held its yearly auditions, with rehearsals beginning later in the month. They really do want as many musicians as possible, which lends to the group's versatility to play at various community venues. In the Narrows Music Society of Gig Harbor, there is room for everyone.
The music society also supports other various ensembles that are a collaboration between musicians of various genres, and who play for a variety of community celebrations and events. They are not just looking for one kind of musician from one kind of genre. They just want to create a community of music. Examples of such ensembles include the ceremonial band, which plays traditional music for time-honored gatherings and meetings (think visiting ambassador or city traditions), rather than celebrations. There’s the Dixieland band, which is a folk band that plays for festivals.
There’s a swing band. The music society has the ability to put together all kinds of compilations depending on the event or activity due to their connection with the community’s network of musicians, many which fall under the umbrella of the Narrows Music Society.
This year we can look forward to a lot of activity from the Narrows Music Society of Gig Harbor, activity which was sorely missed in previous years, solidifying the very real need for the collaboration of arts and performance, and the community and sense of wellness that it brings. Harbor Winds does three to four concerts a year. There’s also the solo saxophonist in May. There’s the addition of new musicians and the rehearsals that follow. There’s the very welcome collaboration of the society with students and schools, with many looking forward to this year’s high school soloist.
To stay up to date on all events, concerts, ways to get involved and community collaboration, the Narrows Music Society can be found on Facebook, twitter, Instagram, and their website at NarrowsMusicSociety.org.