The Lowcountry Community Band: Celebrating the Season

4 mins read

The Lowcountry Community Band began in November 2011, with only a musical idea and a steering committee of five church members. The band is supported by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of South Carolina-Beaufort, and is the outgrowth of an idea that there was need for a traditional concert band.

The call for musicians was answered — immediately and loudly. Nearly 50 musicians contacted the OLLI offices seeking more information. Musicians from throughout the area — Beaufort, Bluffton, Dataw Island, Hilton Head Island and Parris Island — came to an initial meeting in February 2012.

There is a breadth of musical experience among the players in the Lowcountry Community Band — retired college music professors, current music educators from area school systems, active performing musicians from the local area and local musicians seeking an outlet to pick up their instrument and play, some after many years since their last performance.

Music Director Donald Jemella looks to have the ensemble immersed in the great band repertoire — from the great American Marches of Sousa and Fillmore to the vast literature written for winds and percussion. Add in the music from Broadway, television and the silver screen, and the repertoire is broad and diverse. From the first rehearsal in March 2012, the band has begun to explore music from each genre and looks forward to presenting it to area audiences.

The first public performances for the band were presented in May and again in November, paying tribute to the spirit of America and the men and women of the United States military. The band is delighted that St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church has chosen to host them for this holiday concert in the first full concert season.

Music Director and Conductor Donald Jemella’s professional life in music spans more than 40 years as a conductor, performer and music educator. His musical background includes roles as a teacher, administrator, adjudicator, guest conductor, consultant and clinician.

In November 2011 he was named music director of the Lowcountry Community Band. In March 2012, the Lowcountry Community Band held its inaugural rehearsal under Mr. Jemella’s leadership.

Throughout his career, Mr. Jemella’s bands, jazz ensembles, orchestras, choruses, and chamber music ensembles have achieved recognition, acclaim, and awards for outstanding musical achievement and musicianship. His musical organizations have performed in the U.S. and Canada. He has served as guest conductor for school state music festivals, adjudicated marching band and drum and bugle corps competitions across the U.S., and served as a music consultant and clinician with school music programs throughout the Northeast and Midwest.

Mr. Jemella is a graduate of The Boston Conservatory from which he holds both a Bachelors and Masters of Music. He studied conducting and clarinet with Atilio Poto, a former member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and student of Arturo Toscanini. As a performer, Mr. Jemella has appeared in both instrumental and choral ensembles and in jazz and touring rhythm & blues bands.

In November 2012, Mr. Jemella was named to the Board of Directors of the Beaufort Symphony Orchestra.

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