Hill Country Community Band appeals to all ages

by Oda Lisa, published in The Wimberley View 2/2/23

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the Hill Country Community Band will present a “Young at Heart” themed concert later this month. The free event will take place on Sunday, February 12, at 2 p.m., at First Baptist Church in Wimberley. The program’s selections include a number of pop medleys and marches.

“I am now in my second year with the HCCB,” HCCB director Manuel Arambula, Ph.D., said. “It has been a great and rewarding journey so far. I love the collaboration with the musicians and how well they respond to my musical expectations. I am beyond proud of the work we have done so far,” he continued. “I truly believe the HCCB is one of the finest musical organizations in central Texas. The type of literature that we have done in the last year is of very high caliber and the band has done an extraordinary job at performing very demanding music. Nearby musicians don’t have to travel very far to play some of the finest music in the band repertoire; we are doing it all in the HCCB!”

Referring to his selection process, Arambula said, “I looked for compositions that dealt with children, youthful themes and popular genres from the last few decades. I believe that melodies are supreme in a musical program. Audiences love tuneful selections.

Some of those selections have a special place in his heart, Arambula said. “It’s overall a great program, but I would have to say ‘The Lion King’ is one of my favorite childhood films and I love the music very much.” he said. “It is very nostalgic for me and it is a very well done arrangement. I believe the audience will love it as well.”

“Sleep Gently, My Child”, by Johannes Brahms, is the composition which inspired him to choose the particular theme. “When I was 21 years old, I was selected as the assistant conductor of the McAllen Symphonic Band, a very fine community band in South Texas,” Arambula explained. “I was the youngest person ever to have conducted the organization. The first piece I ever conducted was ‘Sleep Gently, My Child.’  I wanted the program to revolve around children, our inner youth, nostalgia, and happy memories.”

The performance will include medleys of Beatles hits, Walt Disney movies and the “Mother Goose” March – on Nursery Rhymes”, by John Philip Sousa.

“I believe there is at least one musical selection in this program for everyone that takes them back to their youth,” Arambula said.

The HCCB is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose musicians are volunteers from the Central Texas area. To keep up with the band’s concert schedule and more, visit hillcountrycommunityband.org.

“When Poems Become Music” concert 11/19/22


“The Star Spangled Banner,” music by John Stafford Smith, arr. Sean O’Loughlin

“Carmina Burana,” by Carl Orff, arr. John Krance

“O Magnum Mysterium,” by Morten Lauridsen, transcribed by H. Robert Reynolds

“Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night,” by Elliot Del Borgo

Local band to host concert

by Oda Lisa, published in The Wimberley View 11/17/22

The Hill Country Community Band will perform their last concert for 2022 on Saturday, Nov. 19, starting at 2:00 p.m.

Directed by Dr. Manuel Arambula, the free performance entitled, “When Poems Become Music,” will be staged at the First Baptist Church in Wimberley and will last about an hour. Sure to be one of the band’s usual fine instrumental offerings, this concert will be a particularly interesting event given the theme of melding literature and music.

Band member Candy Bowman explained, “The main idea is that the poems have inspired the music, even when some of the poems are over a thousand years old, preserved in an ancient monastery, and only ‘recently’ discovered in 1803. With these selections, there is a mixture of old and new, with ancient poetry providing the inspiration for modern music.”

She added, “Two of the poems will be included in the program so that listeners can follow them as the music is played. ‘O Magnum Mysterium’ was written many centuries ago to celebrate the birth of Christ, and was set into music by Morten Lauridsen in 1994. ‘Do Not Go Gentle in That Good Night’ was a poem written by Dylan Thomas that was inspired by the death of his father. Elliot Del Borgo’s work attempts to recreate the essence of the poem in sound, with the opening motif representing the life force.”

She continued, “For ‘Carmina Burana,’ poems written by clerical students in the 12th century were set to music by German composer, Carl Orff, in 1935. He used 24 of 254 poems in the creation of ‘Carmina Burana.’ You may recognize the song ‘O Fortuna’ from the movie ‘Excalibur,’ where King Arthur and his knights ride into battle.”

Bowman concluded, “Some of the musicians in the band have created an original slide show to illustrate the music of this famous musical selection. The old poems have become new again through music!”

The Hill Country Community Band is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose musicians are volunteers from the Central Texas area. For more, visit hillcountrycommunityband.org. FBCW is located at 15951 Winters Mill Parkway.

“Hail Britannia!” Concert 10/2/22

A Tribute to Queen Elizabeth II


“The Star Spangled Banner,” music by John Stafford Smith, arr. Sean O’Loughlin

“Sea Songs,” by Ralph Vaughan Williams

“Lincolnshire Posy,” by Percy Aldridge Grainger

“Colonel Bogey March,” by Kenneth J. Alford

“Nimrod” from Enigma Variations, by Edward Elgar, arr. Alfred Reed

“First Suite in Eb for Military Band,” by Gustav Holst

“God Save the King,” English traditional song, arr. Jeremy Corcoran

HCCB Performs Selections from across the pond

by Oda Lisa, published in The Wimberley View 9/29/22

On Sunday, October 2, at 4:00 p.m. at the First Baptist Church in Wimberley, the Hill Country Community Band will perform their special, free concert program called, “Hail Britannia: A Tribute to Queen Elizabeth II”. From the initial board meeting to the last practice, The program content has been months in the making and originally was a musical nod from director, Dr. Manuel Arambula, to his personal selection of past English composers. However, recent historical events in the United Kingdom caused a subtle shift of the concert’s tone, but the planned playlist has remained unchanged. That varied list includes sea shanties, lively marches, some maybe unfamiliar compositions, and several well known melodies.

To open the concert, the band will perform “The Star Spangled Banner”. The familiar melody was borrowed by Francis Scott Key from an even older pub song, “To Anacreon in Heaven”. One might think that beginning a tribute concert to the long-reigning English monarch with that particular piece of music might be an odd choice. Yet, several sources cite that, two days after September 11, 2001, Queen Elizabeth II ordered that the American national anthem be played by the Coldstream Guards during that day’s Changing of the Guard ceremony. The anthem was played again the next day during a remembrance service at St. Paul’s Cathedral, attended by the Queen, Prince Philip, and Prince Charles.

According to program notes, “Nimrod” is “the ninth and best known variation in Edward Elgar’s fourteen-part work, Enigma Variations… Solemn and evocative, “Nimrod” is frequently performed at royal events, such as the funeral of Princess Diana in 1997 and of Prince Phillip in 2021. It was played at the opening of the London Olympic Games in 2012, and has also been performed each year on the second Sunday in November at the annual ‘National Service of Remembrance’ at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London.”

The concert will close with “God Save the King” in honor of King Charles III. If the melody of that ancient, English national anthem sounds familiar, there is a good reason for that. The melody was another one “borrowed,” with the original lyrics changed, to become “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”.

The Hill Country Community Band is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose musicians are volunteers from the Central Texas area. To keep up with the band’s concert schedule, to find out how to join, or how to donate time or money, visit hillcountrycommunityband.org, and by following the HCCB on Facebook.

10th Annual Hometown Patriotic Concert – July 4th 2022

Presented by HCCB and the Wimberley Community Chorus

On the program:

“The Star-Spangled Banner” by John Stafford Smith, words by Francis Scott Key, arr. by Sean O’Loughlin

“Lift Every Voice and Sing” (WCC), by J. Rosamund Johnson, setting by Allen Pote

“America, the Beautiful” by Samuel Augustus Ward, arr. by Katherine Lee Bates and Carmen Dragon

“West Side Story Selections” by Leonard Bernstein

“I Hear America Singing” by André J. Thomas

“Homeward Bound” by Marta Keen, arr. by Jay Althouse and Brant Karrick, featuring soprano soloist Laura Russell

“Festival of Freedom (Patriotic Medley)” arr. by Emily Crocker and Paul Lavender

“The Yellow Rose of Texas Variations” by Lewis J. Buckley, featuring euphonium soloist Joe Dollard

“God Bless America” by Irving Berlin, arr. by Keith Christopher and John Edmondson

“Armed Forces Salute” Service Medley, arr. by Bob Lowden

“Hymn to the Fallen” by John Williams, arr. by Paul Lavender

“Battle Hymn of the Republic” words by Julia Ward Howe, arr. by William Steffe and Peter J. Wilhousky

“Let There Be Peace on Earth (with I’ve Got Peace Like a River)” by Sy Miller and Jill Jackson, arr. by Douglas E. Wagner

“The Stars and Stripes Forever” by John Philip Sousa, arr. by Keith Brion and Loras Schissel

Musical groups combine for July 4th hometown patriotic concert

by Pat Rawlings, published in The Wimberley View 6/23/22

After sitting outside enjoying “The Best Little Parade in Texas” on Independence Day, what could be better than sitting in air conditioning listening to beautiful music by two of Wimberley’s best and longest running musical groups? The Wimberley Community Chorus and the Hill Country Community Band are coming back together this year for the first time since 2019 for the 10th Annual Hometown Patriotic Concert on July 4 at 3 p.m. at the Wimberley First Baptist Church, 15951 Winters Mill Parkway.

Favorite patriotic songs celebrating the birth and history of our nation will include “America the Beautiful,” “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “God Bless America,” and “Stars and Stripes Forever.” “Hymn to the Fallen” by John Williams from Saving Private Ryan is accompanied by a powerful video presentation honoring those who gave everything for the United States. During “Armed Forces Salute,” flags of our country’s military branches are presented by a color guard while veterans of those branches are invited to stand and be honored.

For the first time this year, Joe Dollard, a twenty-year member of US Navy Band, will be featured as a euphonium soloist in “The Yellow Rose of Texas Variations,” by Lewis J. Buckley. Dollard’s impressive resume includes being a founding member of the Dallas Winds, many guest performances and clinics around the country, and performing in several groups in Austin.

The Wimberley Community Chorus will be directed by Ed Snouffer, with his wife, Andrea, accompanying the chorus on piano. During the school year, Snouffer serves Eanes ISD as head director of Westlake High School Choirs. Since being named head director, the choir program at Westlake has grown to include eight choirs involving several hundred students. The choirs are consistent UIL Sweepstakes winners and have been honored at festivals around the country. Snouffer has received numerous teaching honors including Lake Travis ISD Teacher of the Year, Texas Region XIII Teacher of the Year, multiple listings in Who’s Who of American Teachers, and several Golden Apple Awards recognizing teachers for positive educational impact. In addition to his teaching duties, Snouffer has been a member of Grammy Award winning Conspirare, an Austin based professional choir, performing on two of the group’s recordings. Snouffer serves as Associate Music Director at St. John’s United Methodist Church in Austin. He is an adjudicator, clinician and accompanist for choirs across Texas, and has served as accompanist for state honor choirs at TMEA, and an honor choir at the ACDA National Convention in Salt Lake City.

Chorus accompanist Andrea Snouffer is the head choir director at West Ridge Middle School in Eanes ISD, leading six award winning choirs. Under her direction, West Ridge choirs have performed multiple times as a state honor choir at the Texas Music Educators Association Conference in San Antonio, and as a national honor choir at the national conference of the American Choral Directors Association. Her choirs have also performed three times at Carnegie Hall in New York City. She is an active adjudicator and clinician throughout Texas. She is the principal accompanist for Tapestry Singers, a women’s chorus in Austin, and is the Children’s Chorus Master for Austin Opera, most recently preparing the chorus for productions of La Boheme and Carmen.

The Hill Country Community Band will be directed by Dr. Manuel Arambula. He has taught string and wind students at the junior high, high school and university level. A native of South Texas, Arambula became interested in music at a young age. He began his piano studies at the age of six, and affiliated himself at the secondary levels in the orchestra and band where he earned many distinctions as a performer. Graduating Magna Cum Laude from McAllen High School, Arambula knew that music was his calling. His professional trajectory has taken him across the states of Texas and California. He has taught both band and orchestra, including a teaching assistantship at Texas Tech University. A supporter of fine arts, Arambula has been involved with community musical organizations in the South Texas and Lubbock areas. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education (Summa Cum Laude) and a Master of Music in Instrumental Performance from the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, a Master of Music in instrumental conducting and a Doctorate in Musical Arts in instrumental conducting from Texas Tech University. When not engaged in his musical interests, Dr. Arambula is an avid collector of classical historical recordings, reading books in history and spending time with his dogs.

The chorus and band are happy to be performing together again after several years missed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and hope to see the community singing and enjoying music together again. Anyone interested in participating in the chorus or band can find more information at their websites: www.wimberleycommunitychorus.org and www.hillcountrycommunityband.org.

“Faraway Places” concert 5/21/22


“Zacatecas” Mexican March by Genaro Codina, arr. by Andrew Glover

“Variations on a Korean Folk Song” by John Barnes Chance

“Amparito Roca” Spanish March by Jaime Texidor

“Fantaisie Brillante sur Carmen” by Francois Borne, arr. by Bryan Kidd, ed. David Miller – featuring piccolo soloist Luellyn Dollard

“March of the Belgian Parachutists” by Pierre Leemans, arr. by John R. Bourgeois

“Mannin Veen (Dear Isle of Man)” a Manx Tone Poem, by Haydn Wood

“Old Scottish Melody (Auld Lang Syne)” setting by Charles A. Wiley

“Homeward Bound March” by John Philip Sousa

The Hill Country Community Band Travels to “Faraway Places”

by Candy Bowman, published in The Wimberley View 5/5/22

Traveling around the world with music, the Hill Country Community Band will transport listeners to “Faraway Places” at their concert on Saturday, May 21st.  The concert, free to all, will take place at 2:00 P.M. at the Wimberley First Baptist Church, 15951 Winters Mill Parkway. The Band is directed by Dr. Manuel Arambula.

With musical themes from Scotland, the Isle of Man, Mexico, Spain, Belgium, Korea, and then back home in the U.S.A., the Band will present the rhythms and harmonies of many different musical cultures and styles.

The Band is excited to feature Luellyn Dollard as piccolo soloist for “Fantaisie Brillante sur Carmen.” Based on themes from the opera Carmen by Georges Bizet, this musical selection presents melodies from “Habanera” and Gypsy Dance,” with arpeggios that require fleet fingering and spectacular breath control by the flute and piccolo players.

Ms. Dollard earned a Masters’ degree from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, in flute performance, playing with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago before winning an audition for the Navy Band in Washington, D.C.  While playing for 21 years in the Navy Band, she performed as a soloist on six national tours and was a prize winner in the National Flute Association’s Young Artist and Piccolo Artist competitions.

Luellyn says that “the best thing about being in the Navy Band was meeting a charming euphonium player named Joe Dollard.”   They married in 2000 and had two beautiful sons, Johnny and Quentin, and now reside in Driftwood, Texas.  Fortunately for the band, both are members of the HCCB!

The HCCB meets for rehearsals at Wimberley FBC on Tuesday evenings from 7:00-8:30 P.M.  For more information about playing and volunteering with the Hill Country Community Band or making a monetary donation, visit the HCCB website at www.hillcountrycommunityband. org and follow on FaceBook for current band news and future concert dates.

“Around the World” concert 4/9/22


“America First” by John Philip Sousa

“Overture de Argentina” by James D. Ployhar

“Moravian Dance” by Travis J. Weller

“Russian Sailors’ Dance” by Reinhold Gliere, arr. by Robert Longfield

“Army of the Nile” March by Kenneth J. Alford

“Galop” from Cheryomushki by Dmitri Shostakovich

“In a Persian Market” by Albert W. Ketelbey

“El Camino Real” by Alfred Reed