OUR BAND

history

This band began on a January evening in 1979 when Lynn Cooper, then in his 10th year as a director of bands in the Ypsilanti schools, called together a group of his friends, former students, and EMU students. For several years, Dr. Cooper had felt a need within the community for an ensemble for adult musicians-a natural extension of his own successful public high school program. The band, named the Ypsilanti Community Band, filled that need.

After seven years as conductor of the band, Dr. Cooper left to accept a position in Kentucky. He was replaced by Paul Stanifer, a recognized public band program organizer. When Mr. Stanifer resigned, Dr. Charles Lee, a former band director at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, took up the baton. He was replaced by Ken Bowman in 1988. Mr.Bowman, a charter member of the band and retired high school band director, conducted the band through the next ten years of its history. Mr. Bowman retired at the end of the 1998 season. He was replaced by Dr. Jerry Robbins, who was conductor until Dr. Christopher Heidenreich took over direction of the band in 2011.

From its inception until 1998, the Ypsilanti Community Band rehearsed and performed its indoor concerts at Ypsilanti High School. However, in 1998 the band formed an alliance with the Department of Music at Eastern Michigan University. For the next several years, the Band was known during the indoor concert season as the "Barnhill Band" (named in honor of Prof. John F. Barnhill and an earlier community band) and the Band rehearsed at EMU and performed in Pease Auditorium. During the summers, the group performed as the "Ypsilanti Community Band" in various outdoor venues. Under the "Barnhill Band" arrangement, a number of EMU students joined townspeople in the ensemble, bringing the membership up to about 70. The "Barnhill Band" arrangement dissolved after four years, at which time the approximately 50 members of the Ypsilanti Community Band moved rehearsals and indoor performances to Washtenaw Community College. Later, the band moved its rehearsal space to West Middle School in Ypsilanti. Since September 2007, the band has rehearsed at Whitmore Lake High School.