Rowan Big Band to perform in Albemarle

Published 9:56 am Monday, February 13, 2023

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The Stanly County Concert Association will start the year off with the Rowan Big Band All Stars at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Stanly County Agri-Civic Center.

The group has performed in the county several times over the years, but this will be its first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The RBBA is an 18-piece community big band reminiscent of the 1930s style of Glenn Miller, Count Basie, Duke Ellington and other bandleaders. There are 20 members — 18 instrumentalists and two singers.

Big band is a type of musical ensemble of jazz music that consists of a number of musicians with four sections — saxophones, trumpets, trombones and a rhythm section. The music originated in the early 1900s and dominated jazz in the 1940s, when swing music was at its most popular.

For the concert, RBBA will perform romantic classics in honor of Valentine’s Day including “My Funny Valentine,” “The Very Thought of You,” “Witchcraft,” “Sentimental Journey,” “A String of Pearls” and “The Way You Look Tonight.”

The band, founded by Dr. Ron Turbyfill in 2006, has performed throughout the region at benefits for charities such as Communities in Schools, Speedway Children’s Charities, the USO, American Cancer Society, The American Legion Auxiliary, W.G. Hefner Veterans Medical Center and others, according to its website.

As a nonprofit organization “dedicated to preserving this uniquely American style of music and sharing our appreciation of it with others,” the net proceeds from the band’s performances are used to support local charities. A portion of the proceeds from the upcoming concert will go to high school bands in the county. 

Albemarle resident and former Albemarle High band director Tim Hedrick, who has been with the band since 2010, took over as director after Turbyfill died in 2021.

“Before he passed away, he said, ‘I don’t want this band to quit playing…so will you take over the band and try to keep it going?'” Hedrick said. “And I said, ‘Well, I’ll give it my best shot’ and that’s how I became the leader.”

The band, which includes Hedrick and two others from Stanly County, unites volunteer musicians from throughout the region with diverse backgrounds through a shared passion for big band music.

“We have a very large variety of people,” Hedrick said, including lawyers, engineers, bankers, educators, a nurse and a dentist. “These are just really good people that enjoy coming together.”

“They play very well and I’m always proud to get them out there and let people hear them play because they do such a good job,” Hedrick added.

The concert will last about two hours with an intermission. 

Tickets, which cost $20 for adults and $10 for students, are available in advance at the Agri-Civic Center and at Starnes-Bramlett Jewelers. 

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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