Jeremy Bond of Grover Beach has been playing the trombone since he was 9. His mother played the piano, and his father directed a church choir.
Bond continued with the trombone, playing at Yorktown High School in Westchester County, N.Y., then in a small band through Kenyon College in Ohio. He still plays the same trombone he bought in 1954 in high school.
As Bond obtained his masters of divinity, becoming an ordained minister, trombone took a back seat to his studies and work. But he took it up again after retirement in 2003 in Sunbury, Penn., playing in church groups.
Since he settled here on the Central Coast in 2004 with his wife, Kathy, he has played with the San Luis Obispo County Band, which will perform Sunday in Arroyo Grande.
“It’s a good activity to keep my mind active and enjoy the company of the other players and the conductor,” he said, referring to Leonard Lutz, band director.
Lutz, who lives in Nipomo, also began playing instruments as a boy, starting trombone in third grade. His great-uncle gave him the trombone.
Lutz got a baritone horn (miniature tuba) in junior high, then got a bassoon and switched to that in high school. He taught music for many years through the Seventh Day Adventist school system in Los Angeles and Valley View Adventist Academy in Arroyo Grande.
Since semi-retiring in 2000, Lutz has been directing the SLO County Band, while also directing the Grande Ringers Hand Bell Choir at the United Methodist Church in Arroyo Grande. He directed the San Luis Chamber Orchestra for several years and played in the Hancock College Band.
Lutz owns and plays 19 instruments, including flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, saxophones, piano, organ and five guitars.
Says Bond: “Leonard does a very fine job of welcoming and directing you don’t feel like somebody’s going to shoot you if you make a mistake,” adding that the band is a “very friendly, lighthearted group.”
Lutz describes his philosophy of directing the band: “I aspire to inspire.” And, “I trust that they’re all trying to do their best — mistakes happen.” There are no tryouts; interested players can attend a practice.
“I try to encourage rather than berate,” he added. The band includes people from teens to 80s, even a father/daughter team (both play the bassoon). Lutz added that he relishes “the enjoyment of seeing people work together, make beautiful music and grow musically.”
The band has a spring and fall performance yearly. Sunday’s concert will be 3 p.m. at the United Methodist Church at 275 N. Halcyon Road. Donations are accepted.
The concert will include marches, a Stephen Foster medley and the Star Spangled Banner and will feature the Grande Ringers as guests. The fall concert is a fundraiser for the Maxine Lewis Memorial Shelter.
Practices are Thursdays at 7 p.m. in the band room at San Luis Obispo High School. For more information, contact Ed Grover at 748-1222 or go to www.slocountyband.org.
Gayle Cuddy’s South County Beat column appears every other week. Story tips can be sent to Gayle Cuddy at firstname.lastname@example.org