After 26 years, Emerson leaving as director of community band

helen emerson

Helen Emerson directs the Havelock Community Band during a Fourth of July performance. After 26 years, Emerson is stepping down as the band's leader.

Havelock News file photo
Published: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 23:45 PM.

Helen Emerson has passed the baton to a younger generation.

For more than 26 years, Emerson has directed the Havelock Community Band. But now she has decided to step aside, handing direction over to Mitchell Martin.

Emerson’s affiliation with the band started quite by chance in 1987, when she was asked to stand in for the newly formed band’s director, John Tyson, who was ill.

“At the time, I had the community chorus. I went over to the band room to see if we could do something for the Fourth of July 1987 with the band,” Emerson said. “Well, John Tyson was ill, and they said, ‘Could you at least keep time for us’ and I said ‘Well, yeah, I can keep time,’ so I stood there and kept time and they said he should be here next week. So, I came the second week and he still wasn’t there. It turned out that a few weeks after that he passed.”

Emerson volunteered to continue leading the group, which started with a Fourth of July performance in 1987.

“There were only seven or eight of us, but that’s OK. We played and we had a good time,” Emerson said. “Tom Kelly said to me ‘It looks like you’ve got a job.’ And I said ‘No Tom. I’m a volunteer’ and he said ‘OK, we’ll look for somebody.’ So 26 1/2 years later, I said ‘I guess he’s not going to find anybody.’”

Emerson said she had no particular training to originally fill the position.



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