For many of Southlake’s major milestones and celebrations, the Southlake Community Band has been a steadfast presence. Its history as a local group for musicians reaches back to 1992.
It started with Betty and Colby Springer, who founded the group with 25 members, according to the band’s records. Nowadays, there are about 70 musicians on the roster with a large range in age, said Ken McMillan, the band’s production officer.
Membership does not depend on auditions, Band Director Jay Bach said. Anyone with an instrument and a willingness to play can join.
“We want to be as inclusive as possible,” Bach said. “There’s a lot of variety of abilities and ages.”
The group is essentially a wind-instrument band. It has built a large repertoire of music, including Broadway hits, classic symphony and Disney songs. A swing band focused on jazz and swing music formed as a subset of the organization in 1997.
The group meets every Monday at Carroll ISD’s George Dawson Middle School. Members are generally former high school or college band members, who still have a passion for playing music, Bach said. They are working professionals, but once a week, members convene at the local school to do something they love.
As the name suggests, the band has strong ties to the community, performing at notable events such as the city’s Stars and Stripes Fourth of July event, Oktoberfest and the start of major developments.
“We’ve been playing at [Southlake] Town Square since before it was Town Square,” McMillan said, referring to the groundbreaking of the city’s major commercial development. “We sat in the field … at a location roughly where the fountain is now.”
That was in 1997, according to the Southlake Historical Society’s timeline.
The band even helped Brian Stebbins, one of the creators of Town Square, design its gazebo, McMillan said.
“He had this vision in his mind about the development of Town Square and that there would be a gazebo and a town band playing for the town people … very iconic, very Americana,” he said.
Stebbins met the band officers, but his initial design was too small.
“He said, ‘No, no. We’re going to fix this,’” McMillan said. “He came to rehearsal to meet the band and saw how big we were, and he completely redesigned the gazebo—more than double the [original]size.”
The band was the first to perform at the city’s Aria Amphitheater at The Marq Southlake. It also played for the grand opening ceremony of SH 114, playing in 26-degree weather in the middle of the westbound lane, McMillan said.
“But even if we were never to perform in public again, we would still be a band, and we’d still meet every week,” McMillan said. “Everyone should come play with us.”