Things are sounding good for the Havelock Community Band.
“One of the first things I want to do is create an identity for the band,” said Mitchell Martin, the new director for the group.
Martin, who led the 2nd Marine Aircraft Band at Cherry Point for nearly five years, has developed a new slogan for the band — “Community, Pride, Performance.”
“We’re looking at getting the whole community involved,” Martin said.
He is hoping to draw musicians in high school, middle school, the community college and the Marine Corps.
“I’m excited about cultivating this group and I’m excited about the challenge,” said Martin.
“I’m very enthusiastic about it,” said Lee. K. Allen, a trombonist and the only remaining charter member of the group, which started in 1986. “He’s a very talented, capable musician. I think he’s going to help us make a good showing for Havelock.”
Over the years, the group has changed in size many times, in part, due to the nature of the community.
“We’ve had people from all over,” Allen said. “They come and go. That’s one of the things that happens in Havelock. Not many comers and stayers.”
Trumpeter Barbara Chance, of James City, is one of those who has come and gone during her active-duty years as a Marine.
“I joined about 10 years ago, minus deployments,” Chance said.
Chance, who was originally recruited for the band by a friend, said she participates for the friendship, camaraderie and the experience.
She believes that the band is now in a growing phase.
“It’s like every practice, more people keep coming,” she said. “We’re getting a bigger sound and getting some of the instrumentation that we’ve been lacking. It makes it a more vibrant sound.”
For the last 26 years, Helen Emerson has volunteered to direct the band, but she turned over the baton to Martin this fall.
“Now that Mitch has come in, he has more experience with directing,” Chance said. “It’s a little bit of a transition. I believe that we will be in a new building phase. It’s just a change and we’re going to move forward. I believe that it’s going to be a very interesting experience for the band.”
Allison Haskins, of Stately Pines, is some of that new blood in the band, having just started two months ago.
“I just like playing trumpet and playing with other people,” she said. “I don’t want my trumpet to go to waste sitting in an attic or something.”
The group gets together at 7 p.m. every Tuesday at the Havelock Senior Center.
Upcoming performances include Dec. 7 in Pine Knoll Shores and Dec. 21 in the Havelock Christmas Parade.
For more information on the Havelock Community Band, call Martin at 622-9348.