Columbia - Columbia Concert Band

The Columbia Concert Band is a non-profit community symphonic band whose purpose is to give non-professional musicians the opportunity to perform challenging band literature while educating and entertaining the public in Howard County and the surrounding communities.

Founded in 1983, the now 100-member Columbia Concert Band includes engineers, professors, students, homemakers and former military band musicians. In 1989, the band expanded and formed the Columbia Jazz Band. The two groups perform nearly 25 concerts a year. Concerts are free, and most are performed in Howard County. In 1995, the concert band performed several concerts with Phileutonia, a symphonic band from the Netherlands, around the state and at Baltimore's Inner Harbor to commemorate July 4. The next year, 63 band members played with Phileutonia in the Netherlands.

Both bands perform annual formal concerts in the winter and spring, plus a string of smaller performances. Band members range in age from high school students to seniors in their 80s.

The Columbia Concert Band's repertoire includes traditional concert pieces to the works of today's composers, who arrange several pieces for concert bands. The band often plays show-tune medleys for its summer performances.

Led by music director Michael Blackman, a music teacher in Howard County schools, the Concert Band also plays at Howard Community College (HCC) commencement. HCC students who play in the band earn college credit.

The band also sponsors a Concert for Young People in the fall. During a one-hour performance of medleys and light marches, the director showcases each section of the concert band. After the program, youngsters may go onstage and talk to band members.

During the summer, the concert band performs at the Columbia Lakefront Concert series and at Centennial Park's Sunset Serenade concerts. In addition, the band has sponsored and performed in the Maryland Community Band Day event, which features performances by many Maryland community concert bands.

The jazz band has 30 to 35 members. Directed by Pete BarenBregge, a former saxophone-flute soloist and former director of the Air Force Airmen of Note, the jazz band performs two formal concerts throughout the year and many informal programs in Howard, Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties.