The Missoula Community Concert Band returns to the stage

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MISSOULA – Outdoor concerts are a sure sign of summer in Missoula, and you can catch one of the first performances Wednesday night when the Missoula Community Orchestra returns to the stage.

“It’s time to come back, everybody’s ready, and we’re ready, and it’s going to be great,” said trumpeter Ross Tate.

Live music is on the mend, and that’s part of the reason people like Tate and fellow bandmate Tom Trigg are drawn to Missoula.

“It makes Missoula a really cool place to live,” Trigg said.

While most of the musicians in the band come from different backgrounds with different skill levels, the music brings them together.

“We have people who have been doctors and lawyers and college professors and scientists in labs in the Bitterroot Valley, explained Trigg, who plays euphonium and is currently president.

It’s the individual strengths that have carried the mish-mash of musicians through the pandemic, through 30 years of gigging and everything they’ve yet to face.

“I expect it to last a long time because it’s a good organization,” Trigg said.

Between laughter and dancing during Monday’s rehearsal, the members reminisced about how good it is to be back after a two-and-a-half-year pandemic hiatus.

“I’m here to play music with all kinds of people who have different cultural backgrounds, professional skills and different levels of musical ability – small, medium and large,” Tate said. “We come here and have fun playing and our music quality is really good.”

Ben Kirby leads the charge and keeps the tempo. “I’m leading the Missoula Community Concert Band at a concert this Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Bonner Park — at the bandshell, and we’re going to be releasing seven different tunes.”

From Ukraine and Australia to Korea and England, the selections are as unique as the members of the group.

“Music is full of love, it’s full of passion, and Dr. Ben Kirby has been our conductor, but he’s also been our guide, and he brings us together so we’re ready to play and go. ‘turn on,’ Tate says.

According to Kirby, “You’re going to have a good time because we’re going to have a good time.”

The show, titled “Music from Earth,” begins Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Bonner Park.

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