By Betty Williamson
My high school had no band and when I was a student at Eastern New Mexico University, where band was a popular elective, I lacked both the courage and initiative to make the leap.
But I must admit that every two years when the ENMU Alumni Band gathers for its reunion, I am keenly aware I missed out on something special.
Fifty-six band alums from as far back as 1951 were in Portales last weekend for a gathering that concluded, per tradition, with a public concert. Under the skillful direction of ENMU bandmaster Dustin Seifert, and joined by some current ENMU students and faculty, music-loving family members, and a handful of talented high school students, the group numbered 80-something by Saturday evening. What a show they put on.
Two of the faculty gurus from ENMU’s digital filmmaking program—Jon Barr and Neil Rutland—documented the magic from the 2012 reunion in a 28-minute film called “Alumni Band.” Most of the film’s stars saw it for the first time at this weekend’s banquet, where it earned a standing ovation. (I’ve seen it twice, cried both times and can attest that the ovation was well-deserved).
Copies of “Alumni Band” are available on DVD for $10 as a scholarship fundraiser benefiting students in digital film and music. If you’re interested, Jon welcomes emails at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Betty Williamson is looking for a sound-proof room to practice playing the flute she bought at a yard sale. You may reach her email@example.com.