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Mesilla Valley Concert Band celebrates 30th anniversary at Mother’s Day concert

Leora Zeitlin

What began as a simple conversation thirty years ago outside the NMSU Music Building has today become one of Las Cruces’ most beloved and enduring musical institutions, the Mesilla Valley Concert Band. Founded by band conductors and teachers Dr. Bill Clark and John Schutz, along with White’s Music Box owner Mike White, MVCB has grown from 30 players to more than 100 auditioned musicians who together have played for tens of thousands of people over the course of three decades.

“At the time, I had no dream of it being like it is now,” Dr. Clark said of the ensemble in this interview with KRWG’s Intermezzo host, Leora Zeitlin. “It has been an evolutionary process not only in numbers, but in sophistication of what the [musicians] are able to play. The level is pretty astounding.”

This Sunday, the band will perform their May concert, marking their 30th anniversary with music by three of the giants of American band music: Alfred Reed, James Barnes, and James Clifton Williams. Guest trumpet player Sam Trimble, a former professor at both NMSU and the University of Texas at El Paso, will perform two works with the band as well.

“Every time we play, I want to have something intellectually or emotionally stimulating for the composers, the players, and the audience,” Dr. Clark said. In this interview, he discusses the music, the history of the band, the role of John Schutz in developing Las Cruces’ music scene, and more. The concert is at 3 p.m. at the Atkinson Recital Hall and is free of charge.

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