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Mount Vernon Community Band Celebrates 40 Years
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Mount Vernon Community Band Celebrates 40 Years

The Swing Band.

The Swing Band. Photo contributed

The Mount Vernon Community Band (MVCB) is celebrating its 40th season.

Come hear the MVCB's Concert Band at the National Park Service's Summer Concert Series at Fort Hunt Park at 8999 Fort Hunt Road, Alexandria, on Sunday June 16 from 7-8 p.m.

Concert Band rehearsals are held at Mount Vernon High School's Band Room at 8515 Old Mount Vernon Road, Alexandria, every Tuesday from 7:30- 9:30 p.m. Players at any level are welcome without audition. Bring your own musical instrument.

The Mount Vernon Community Band was founded in 1978. The MVCB includes six groups. They are the Mount Vernon: Concert Band, Swing Band, Dixieland Band, German Band, Brass Ensemble, and Flute Ensemble.

The band is a volunteer local group of musicians who wish to keep their musical skills in tune. Members include graduating high school students, former military musicians, college musicians, and other Mount Vernon area neighbors.

Each ensemble plays at many types of events: Fourth of July picnics, retirement homes, senior centers, civic association meetings, local government events, the Mount Vernon Yacht Club's annual commissioning, schools, libraries, parks, churches and Oktoberfest events. Concert band performances include marches, light classics, popular show tunes and overtures, and patriotic selections. The band has also played at George Washington's Mount Vernon estate. The band plays concerts and/or background music.

Band members, including the conductor, volunteer their time and represent a wide range of ages, careers and personal interests. The goal of the group is to provide pleasure and service to the community and enjoyment to the members who play music together.

Eric Leighty is the president of the band. See the band's website for conductor biographies, and scheduling information at www.mvbands.com/concert-band/

photo

Owen Hammett

Owen Hammett Retires From Band

Owen Hammett has been a vital part of the volunteer Mount Vernon Community Band for over 25 years.

He conducted the Swing Band, the Dixieland band, and sometimes the German Band and the Concert Band.

He played the trombone and euphonium in all of the Mount Vernon bands (Concert, Swing, German, Dixieland, and Brass). Last Fall, he played the bass drum in the Concert Band and the German Band.

Hammett has also been the band's logistics expert, manager, scheduler, promoter, and announcer.

It will take five people to do the jobs that Owen has done over the years.

In recent years, Owen Hammett has volunteered with the National Park Service by coordinating, recruiting, scheduling and setting up for the bands playing in the Fort Hunt Park Summer Concert series. He invites all of the Mount Vernon Community Band groups each year.

He played in the volunteer Washington Redskins Band for 10 years.

Owen’s past musical resume includes: principal trombone in the University of Alabama Symphony, three years as a volunteer with the band of the Supreme Headquarters, Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), leader of the Saint John’s Brass Ensemble (Saint John’s Cathedral, Izmir, Turkey). He has been performing big band music since the late 1950s. A native of Alabama, Hammett served in the U.S. Army, and worked as a civilian.

The MVCB has also granted an annual competitive Dale Moore Memorial Scholarship to a graduating senior from the Mount Vernon High School band program since 2002.