Gary Garner, Town and Gown Concert

What: Town and Gown Symphonic Band Concert

When: April 21, 2014 7:30

Where: Northern Recital Hall, WTAMU Campus

How Much: Admission is Free!

As Director of Bands at West Texas A&M University, Dr. Gary Garner spent 39 years teaching music and taking the WT band to new heights.  Now, the award winning band leader is out in front again.  Here, he visits with Panhandle PBS about  the upcoming Town and Gown concert. 

Q This is a post retirement project for you, is it good to be directing musicians again?

A.  It is indeed.

Q: Who are the players in the Town and Gown symphonic band?

A: Players from the community from various walks of life, many of them band directors.  Also some WT students (hence, the name “Town & Gown”).

Q: How long has the group been playing together?

A. This is year number seven.

Q: What can people expect to hear  at a Town and Gown concert?

A: A variety of band music designed to appeal to every taste.  We usually have a soloist, including one outstanding high school student each year.  This next concert on April 21 will feature Keslie Pharris, oboist from Randall HS and a student of Alice Cooke’s.  The concert, incidentally, will be held in the Northern Recital Hall on the WT campus at 7:30 pm and admission is free.

Q: How did Town and Gown get started?

A:  The idea of the T&G came from former Dean of Fine Arts & Humanities, Dr. James Rennier.

Q: How often does Town and Gown play?

A:  We usually give either three or four concerts a year from Nov. through April.  They're typically about six weeks apart.

Q:  Why do you think a group like this continues to rehearse and perform year after year?

A.  Answer's pretty simple.  There's simply nothing better than making music, particularly in the company of friends and other like-minded people.  Frankly, I'm not sure that the general public has much of an understanding what benefits (not to mention joy) participation in a musical ensemble brings.  A recent long-range study comparing high school students in band, orchestra, or choir with those that were not produced some pretty astonishing results.  The people in music graduated at an unbelievable 30% higher rate.  Even I was shocked by that one.  But they measured them in a number of other ways as well.  The music students were far more likely to go to college, make higher grades, go on to productive careers, and have fulfilling lives.  At the same time, they were far less likely to ever have an encounter with the law, be incarcerated, fall victim to substance abuse, and on and on.