Donnie Machen heads community band
by Margaret Anderson
Special to The Star
Aug 20, 2013 | 2000 views |  0 comments | 47 47 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Photo: Anita Kilgore/The Jacksonville News
Photo: Anita Kilgore/The Jacksonville News
Donnie Machen is one of the original members of the Calhoun County Community Band. He joined a little over a year ago. He plays the saxophone.

Machen is now president of the group of 28 musicians that vary in age and occupations.

“We have people who are former members of the Jacksonville State University Southerners and the Million Dollar Band at Alabama and a retiree from the Army WAC Band at Fort McClellan,” said Machen. “Grant Paris, former city attorney, plays the trombone.”

Machen said the band was formed because there was no outlet to play for those who enjoy being part of a band.

“When this was formed, it gave everyone an opportunity to have a place to play again,” he said. “That’s why we have such a wide span of ages and backgrounds. It’s just a way that we can continue to get to do what we enjoy doing.”

The group plays an assortment of marches, concert band pieces, big band numbers and some seasonal music.

He reiterates what the band’s Facebook page says - “We have a lot of fun and we make a lot of good music together while doing so.”

The band practices every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in Jacksonville High School’s band room. Members schedule about four performances a year.

“Things went so well at the city’s Fourth of July celebration, we’re in discussion with the city right now about doing a Christmas performance,” said Machen. “We don’t know for sure just yet when that will be.”

The band played period music at the Maj. John Pelham celebration square earlier in the year and was invited to Chickamauga, Ga., to help celebrate the 150th anniversary of that battle.

“That would have been an exciting road trip,” said Machen. “But we had no transportation to get everyone there; however, we were very excited that we got the invitation.”

Machen and his wife, Deborah, have two children. Chris, a U.S. Army captain, who is stationed at Anniston Army Depot. Holly attends graduate school at Auburn. Their grandchildren are Jada, Will, Dillon and Madelon.

Machen began his musical training at Emma Sansom High School in Gadsden and some years later completed his education at Andersonville Baptist Seminary in Camilla, Ga. He is education pastor at First Baptist Church.

He enjoys golf, remote control airplanes and duck hunting.

“We want to get the word out about the band,” he said. “It’s open to everyone in the Calhoun County area, and we invite everyone who would like to play to come join us.”

Machen invites those who play, or used to play an instrument to consider becoming a member.

The next performance will probably be in October. It will be announced in this newspaper.

More information can be found on the band’s Facebook page, Calhoun County Community Band.

Alan Conaway is the band’s director. Other officers are Mark Wallace, trumpet; Donnie Monroe, tuba; Pam Smith, trumpet; and Heather Gaines, flute.

Also playing the flute are Sherri Cunningham, Christy Sullivan, Jenifer Monroe, and Sandy Sensenbach. Clarinets include Bob White, Donna Dunaway, Leslie Street and Suzanne Adams.

Trumpets are Brandon Rucker, and Jeremy Carpenter. On the French horn is Marsha Hanners. Trombones are Dixie Jensen and Robert Quilliams. On baritone are Harry Nuttall and Tim McCurry. Judy Hurst plays saxophone. Ben Cunningham, Alan Wright, Shannon Maddox and Jeff Gossett make up the percussion section.

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Donnie Machen heads community band by Margaret Anderson
Special to The Star

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