Looking for a great way to begin the holiday season? Like live music? If this sounds like you, then check out the Fox Valley Concert Band’s Home for the Holidays concert at 3 p.m. Dec. 11 at the Norris Center, 1050 Dunham Road, St. Charles. Admission is free.
The Fox Valley Concert Band is an all-volunteer, nonprofit concert band that performs year-round. The band has been around since 1983 and has grown to include 75 members from more than 30 communities in the Chicago suburbs, according to its website.
The band’s current conductor, Colin Holman, is a graduate of the University of Birmingham, England.
Elburn resident Jennifer Murphy, one of the band’s musicians, talked more with Kane County Chronicle intern Jonah Nink about her experience with the band and the upcoming concert.
Jonah Nink: How did you first get involved with the Fox Valley Concert Band?
Jennifer Murphy: I moved to the Chicago area in 2009, and I was part of a community band in the previous city I lived in, and I knew that [I] wanted to find another one. I knew there was one in this area, and after a web search, I found this ensemble. I went and watched one of their performances and then decided to audition.
Nink: What instrument do you play?
Murphy: I play the bassoon.
Nink: And how long have you played it?
Murphy: Oh. 25 years; since high school. I’ve [been] playing a long time.
Nink: Are you just a musician for the band or do you have any other roles?
Murphy: I am one of the vice presidents for the [band]; I am the internal vice president. My responsibilities include taking care of our members. I do a lot of internal, behind-the-scenes stuff. I take attendance at rehearsals; I’m responsible for moving any equipment; I organize a lot of the [information] for our concerts, like when to arrive, where to park, what time to be there [and] where to store your instruments before each performance.
Nink: How often do you perform with the band?
Murphy: We have several performances all throughout the year. This Christmas season, we have three performances scheduled, but we’ll also have performances in the summer, as well as many other performances all throughout the year.
Nink What kinds of venues do you normally play at?
Murphy: Our main performance space is the Norris Center in St. Charles. … We [also] have a very long-standing relationship with The Holmstad in Batavia. That’s one of our favorite venues to play in. We recently added a few other locations. We play at GreenFields in Geneva. We did a performance at Windsor Park. ... In the past, we’ve performed for the city of St. Charles at their Fourth of July event at Pottawatomie Park. We played at the Blackberry Farm in Aurora. We [also] played at the Mooseheart Christmas and light show last year as well.
Nink: What do you enjoy most about being in a concert band?
Murphy: It’s a time between the music and the people! I really enjoy playing. I genuinely go for the fun of it. But it’s also the people that you get to share the experience with. They genuinely enjoy it as much as I do, and it’s really great to be together with people who have that common enjoyment of the that common hobby, that kind of skill.
Nink: On the opposite side, what do you not enjoy, or what would you change?
Murphy: Practicing. I hate practicing. I thoroughly loathe practicing. … Our conductor does a really great job of challenging us with pieces of music that push us beyond our comfort zone almost. Our job is to come to rehearsal as well prepared as possible, so when we are together as an ensemble, we can learn how to play well together. He does a great job of pushing our boundaries. But I still hate practicing so much. It’s just like torture.
Nink: Do you have anything special planned for the upcoming Home for the Holidays concert that you’d like to share with us?
Murphy: There are a couple things that we throw into the performance itself that are pretty unique and special … and I really look forward to playing them at the end of the concert before we say goodbye to our audience. We always finish with a cookie and juice reception. Everyone who comes to our concert will be treated to some cookies and juice in the lobby before they leave.