Flagstaff Community Band Member Spotlights
Weekly feature of community band members.
Week of July 29, 2019
This week's "Meet a Musician Monday" bring us back to the trombone section. Craig Bearchell initially learned to play cornet in a Salvation Army Brass Band in Hollywood California. In 1971 he was challenged to learn the trombone, and in 1972 he toured Australia and New Zealand with the Salvation Army Hollywood Brass Band as the principle trombonist. During the 1970's and 1980's he played in Jazz/Rock bands as well as marched in the Pasadena Rose Parade 16 times with The Salvation Army Band. Craig met his wife while attending the Salvation Army Corps in Hollywood in 1978. They were married in 1980 and eventually moved to Flagstaff in 1986 taking a job with W.L.Gore & Associates. It was in Flagstaff that Craig began playing in a polka band (Big Willie and the Polka Meisters) and has continued to play trombone in everything from polka to big bands ever since! Craig and his wife had the privilege of raising 6 children of which 4 are now married. As a bonus they have 5 grandchildren, and travel to Indiana and New Mexico to visit them. Retirement from work is approaching but his love of the trombone and enjoyment of playing will never cease. Craig enjoy being in the company of people having the same love of music, and the comradery he feel between musicians is an energizing blessing. Craig says, "It is an honor to play in the Flagstaff Community Band. Come join us!".
Week of July 22, 2019
Today's "Meet a Musician Monday" features percussionist, Sarah Stamer! Sarah is a senior at Coconino High School, where she is a member of the concert and marching bands as well as the percussion ensemble and serves as the percussion section leader. Sarah started playing percussion in the last 2 months of 5th grade, much to the disapproval of her mom, a former band director and Community Band trumpet player. Sarah joined the community band after her 7th grade year, and she and her mom have enjoyed every season.
During middle school, Sarah participated in AMEA Northwest Region bands twice and the AMEA 8th Grade All-State Honor Band. During high school, Sarah has participated in the AMEA Northwest Region Honor Band/Orchestra three times and in the AMEA All-State Honor Band/Orchestra twice. Last year, she also participated in the University of Arizona Honor Band. Previously, Sarah has been one of our Percussion Instructors for Junior Band, but this summer she was busy as a member of the Arizona Ambassadors of Music Concert Band and had the opportunity to travel to England, France, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, and Germany.
In her spare time, she enjoys watching hockey, volunteering at Lowell Observatory and at her church, reading, and playing piano. In university she plans to study astronomy and physics with the career goal of becoming an astronomer. Look for Sarah in our percussion section at this Saturday's performance on the Square!
Week of July 1, 2019
This week's "Meet a Band Member Monday" features our bass clarinetist, Cris LeSaar! Cris is originally from the suburbs of Chicago (Go Bears!) and moved to Prescott in 1991. After graduating from Prescott High School, she moved to Flagstaff where she met her "better half" and had their daughter. They moved to Phoenix to be near family, but after 9 long, hot years, they ultimately chose to come back to live in Flagstaff, which they love. She started playing the clarinet in 4th grade, and has always loved the low voices in music and moved to the bass clarinet in middle school, playing it through high school and college. She loves playing in ensembles and is having a blast playing with the Flagstaff Community Band. Cris is the proud parent of an amazing daughter who also plays bass clarinet and is attending college in Colorado. She is also blessed with an amazing partner of over 20 years. He can often be seen carrying her bass clarinet for her after concerts. Cris works for W.L.Gore as a Quality Data Specialist and helps maintain the data required by the FDA and other global regulatory bodies for their medical division. When not working or playing, she enjoys volunteering with various organizations including being a member of the Coconino High School Band Boosters, vice-president of her HOA, and an active leader in a local 4H club. Cris's other hobbies include reading, having a cold drink on a downtown patio, and the occasional karaoke night.
Week of July 8, 2019
This week's "Meet a Band Member Monday" is Jody Laura, from the horn section. Jody grew up in Sierra Vista, AZ and was lucky to be a part of a very active band program. She started playing the horn in 5th grade and stayed very active through high school on both horn and piano. She received her bachelors and masters in music education at Montclair State University in New Jersey and taught middle school band and then elementary school general and vocal music during her 15 years living right outside of New York City. Now back in Arizona and two kids (6 and 4) later, Jody has opened Little Music Makers of Flagstaff, where she gets to share her love for music with some of Flagstaff's youngest music lovers and their parents. She also maintains a small piano studio. In her free time, Jody loves to bake, cook, and spend time in her garden. Jody is currently serving as the chair of the community band board.
Week of July 1, 2019
This week's "Meet a Band Member Monday" brings us to Linn Montgomery, in the French horn section! Linn just retired after 38 years as a biology professor at Northern Arizona University. Born in Detroit, he moved with his family to the San Diego area when he was five. Fishing, diving and surfing along the coast led to a career studying tropical and temperate fishes in a variety of locations around the world. His horn playing began at age eight, initially as a member of a boys marching band that represented San Diego in the Tournament of Roses Parade twice, and later as a member of the San Diego Youth Symphony. He unwisely set the horn aside for his college and most of his professional years, returning to it a few years back with help from NAU horn professor Nancy Sullivan, with whom he still studies, as well as from the Directors of and colleagues in Flagstaff's Community Band and Orchestra Northern Arizona. He's blessed by a family that includes a botanist/Master gardener/farmer spouse and three 20-something children. Linn currently serves on the Community Band's Board of Directors as a Member-at-Large, and also can be counted on for bringing his humor and sarcasm to the horn section!
Week of June 24, 2019
This week, our "Meet a Band Member Monday" has a slightly different twist to it. We are featuring one of our Junior Band trombonists, Alex Skelton! We are featuring him because at this Thursday's concert, some of the trombones from Community Band and Junior Band will be performing a piece that he arranged! Alex is a soon to be freshman at Flagstaff High School, where he will be playing trombone with the marching band. . He is participating in his second year in the Flagstaff Community Junior Band. In the last three years, he has learned to play the trombone at Mount Elden Middle School in Mr. McKay’s class. Playing his trombone is one of his favorite things to do. He has participated in the 2018 Northern Arizona Regional Honor Band for Middle School, the 2019 Arizona All State Middle School Honor Band, as well as earning first chair trombone in the 2019 Northern Arizona Regional Honor Band for Middle School. Alex has been so inspired by what he has learned in band with Mr. McKay that he has begun to experiment with composing his own music. His music could often be heard coming from the trombone section before band class, as Alex is always writing something for his section to play. Alex's composing isn't just limited to trombone music, though, as he has even composed orchestral music! He has recently begun taking piano lessons, which he is picking up very quickly, as a way to further prepare himself for composing music. If you are in the area, you won't want to miss what he arranged at Thursday's concert, and if you're there, get his autograph...you'll thank us for that suggestion when he's famous!
Week of June 17, 2019
This week's "Meet a Band Member Monday" is flutist, Marti Canipe! Marti has been playing flute since the 5th grade. She played in concert and marching band all throughout high school. Marti taught elementary and middle school science for thirteen years before getting a doctorate in science education and joining the faculty of the College of Education at NAU. She also enjoys hiking in the woods around Flagstaff and reading. When Marti moved to Flagstaff in 2016, she joined the community band and has enjoyed being part of an organized music group for the first time since high school. We are so glad that she joined the group!
Week of June 9, 2019
This week's "Meet a Band Member Monday" bring us way back to the percussion section! Jesse Mapel is a percussionist for the band and helps coordinate the rest of the section. He serves on the band's board of directors as a Member-at-Large and the equipment manager. As if that isn't enough, Jesse also serves as one of our percussion specialists for Junior Band. He is one busy guy! Jesse started playing percussion in 5th grade and continued through high school, where he attended North High School in Phoenix...imagine marching band in that kind of heat! He is a self-proclaimed "band geek". Jesse was actually in the high school band with his now fiance, Taylor, although they were only friends at the time and reconnected later at an alumnus event! After reconnecting, Taylor invited Jesse to check out a rehearsal of the Flagstaff Community Band, where she played flute. The rest is history! Jesse is a software developer at the USGS Astrogeology Science center. In his free time, he loves to play boardgames. In particular he loves bluffing and strategy games, and he and Taylor try to host at least one get together a month to play games with friends. His other big passion is cooking. Each winter they make hundreds and hundreds of candies to give out to families and family friends, and Taylor always makes fun of him for never making a "simple" recipe. Look for Jesse at our next performance and say "hi"!
Week of June 3, 2019
This week's "Meet a Band Member Monday" we introduce you to trumpeter, Sara Olson! Sara has been playing trumpet since 5th grade. She was drum major her senior year of high school and got to conduct the band at a Packers playoff game! (her favorite team!) In college, Sara was in marching band for 2 years and concert band for 4 years. She received a bachelors in chemistry but liked being a Resident Assistant more. Sara is still working in college student housing 13 years later at NAU. She joined community Band in 2011 and joined the board later that summer. Sara has served in a variety of roles with the band, and is currently the Vice-Chair/Band Manager and the coordinator of the Junior Band.
Week of May 28th
For this week's "Meet a Band Member Monday" we introduce you to lower brass player, Scott Boyton. Scott has been playing instruments since 5th grade, and has been a part of the Community Band for approximately 11 years. Scott went to NAU on a trombone scholarship but decided technology was more his future. He took many years off to develop his career and raise three kids but started playing again when a friend invited him to a Community Band rehearsal in 2008. Since then he served a term as President of the board, got the winter band going again, and created the winter brass ensemble. His daughter, Serina, also played Tuba with the band for several years before college. Scott is always lending a hand to help out the band. He often switches between euphonium and tuba, so look for Scott in the back row and say "hi" at our concerts this summer!
Week of May 20, 2019
This week's "Meet a Band Member Monday" features clarinetist, Carol J. Peat! Carol has liked music, especially classical music and opera, as long as she can remember. She began piano lessons at age 7 and continued for 13 more years. High school brought an introduction to band music and she was hooked! She played French Horn in high school band, but really wanted to try the clarinet. Pharmacy College and raising kids put that on hold until she was 43, when she took lessons for the next 12 years, playing with various groups at various levels all that time. This included an 11-year stint with The Arizona Winds under the direction of Col. Richard Shelton (USAF-ret.). When Carol and her husband moved to Flagstaff, she was fortunate to continue being able to play in some NAU groups as well as Orchestra Northern Arizona and, of course, Flagstaff Community Band in the summer. In her spare time, Carol enjoys trail riding her wonderful “ponies,” and she and her husband enjoy competitive shooting. We are so happy that Carol has been a part of our group!
Week of May 13, 2019
Talbert Tso was born in Flagstaff and has been a part of the community band for approximately 12 years. Talbert has served on the band's board of directors in multiple capacities and is often the first to arrive and last to leave a concert, always offering his help. Talbert played flute in elementary school, transitioned to playing bari sax in middle school, and high school was a blur of playing bari sax, alto sax, baritone, and tuba. Talbert also plays tuba for Orchestra Northern Arizona. He graduated from NAU with a degree in Computer Science and works for NAU Information Technology Services department as an Applications Systems Analyst. In his free time, Talbert is usually playing video games and hanging out with friends playing board games; such as, Catan and Betrayal at House on the Hill. Talbert is also an avid hobbyist baker. Usually making cakes, banana bread, cookies, and pies. Wave to Talbert at this Saturday's concert on the courthouse lawn!
Week of May 6, 2019
For this week's "Meet a Band Member Monday" we introduce you to alto saxophonist, Anita Diaz! Anita has been playing her instrument for 30 years, and has been a part of the Community Band for approximately 15 years. She was born and raised in Flagstaff, where her grandfather delivered her! She comes from a very musical family, many who were involved with the FHS Marching Band, including her daughter, who will graduate next year! Her son is also a recent FHS graduate. In Anita's free time, she enjoys helping out with FHS's color guard and marching band, and is a member of the American Legion Auxiliary, where she volunteers with a program called Girls State. Look for Anita and say "hi" at our concerts this summer!
Week of April 29, 2019
Our first featured band member is trombonist, Nat White. Nat has been a member of the band for 22 years and has served on the board, been our go-to handyman, and is always the first to volunteer for whatever needs to be taken care of. Nat and his wife have been in Flagstaff for 50 years. He was an astronomer at Lowell Observatory for 38 years and raised his family in town. Nat has served our town in many ways including city council, vice mayor, the public library board, Coconino Community College board, and more. In 2013 he was named Citizen of the Year, and in 2017 the band honored him with the "Nat White Extra Mile Award".
Nat holds seven titles for either breaking the record and/or being the first male in his age group at the Imogene Pass Run. Nat shows up to band rehearsals with an infectious smile every week and we enjoy his advice, sense of humor, and gentle nudges that continue to grow our band.