Saturday, March 23, 2019
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20181128 RGV Concert Band HM 2639The Rio Grande Valley Concert Band performed its first concert at Fiesta Village in Mission on Feb. 15, 1998. They booked a few more that year after that one.

Twenty-one years later, the RGV Band, mostly made up of Winter Texans – and with a few musicians still from that original group – is preserving and performing “lovely music,” as one review about that band stated.

Since those first days, the group has grown – there have been as many as 65 musicians, and membership has stayed steady at about 60 for the past few years. While not all of the band’s members have made it to the Valley from their northern homes, the ones already here are moving full speed ahead in preparation for their annual Christmas concert at 3 p.m., Dec. 9 at Our Savior Lutheran Church, located at 1105 W. Fern Ave., in McAllen.

“We’re going to have several traditional Christmas songs and some that are popping and a couple of rock Christmas pieces,” said conductor Gene Goede. “We have a pretty good library of pieces we can play and the crowd usually enjoys it.”

Goede, a Minnesota native, is in his 11th year as conductor but his roots with the band go all the way back to the group’s second season as a trumpet player.

“We started out with 12 members in 1998 and now there are just about 60 and they come from 17 or 18 different states and we have a few from Canada,” Goede said. “They are a strong group. It’s interesting because some will play when they go back home; some will only play here. We’ve had some that hadn’t played for 30 years and they get their instrument out and started up again.

“It’s kind of like riding a bike. You never really forget. You just have to get yourself back in shape to do it well again.”
Currently, the band is seeking musicians for the clarinet and percussion sections. Goede says there isn’t a lot of turnover in the band but it happens.

When the Christmas show is over, the RGV Band is far from done for the year, however. They have six different shows this year scheduled at Winter Texan resorts. Show time will be 3 p.m. for each of the shows. Goede said the music variety is wider and goes from some rock music, such as “Rockin Around the Clock Tonight,” to relaxing, like a library full of legendary flugelhorn and trumpet player Chuck Mangione.

The six concerts scheduled for Winter Texan resorts include (all begin at 3 p.m.):

Jan. 6 – Llano Grande Park, Mercedes
Jan. 20 – Snow to Sun, Weslaco
Feb. 3 – Alamo Palms, Alamo
Feb. 17 – Aladdin Villas West, Mission
March 3 – Casa del Sol, Donna
March 10 – Paradise Resort Estates, Pharr

“We try to do a real variety, not just easy polkas and waltzes,” Goede said. “We have quite a library and we’ll do marches, overtures, show tunes and several different arrangements.”

There is no fee for the Dec. 9 Christmas performance at Our Savior Lutheran Church. Donations will be accepted.

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