The wheels started turning when Head of Performing Arts Jim McLaughlin was approached by Scott Hynek, President of the Mahoosuc Community Band, looking for a new practice space and a new conductor. He found them both at Gould.
“I thought, ‘this is the perfect opportunity to combine musicians from the community and Gould students into one large concert band,’’ says McLaughlin. “The collaboration has been a huge success, the community members and the students really enjoy rehearsing together. They are learning a lot from each other.”
The orchestra now rehearses weekly in the Gould band room, and Jim McLaughlin has taken on the role of conductor. They will hold performances in Gould’s Bingham Auditorium, the first of which will be the group's Holiday Concert on Sunday, December 11 at 4:00 p.m. They also plan to make an appearance at Gould’s traditional Yulefest on Tuesday, December 20 at 7:30 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public. If you can't make it to Church Street, you can stream Yulefest live.
The band has about 45 members total and is evenly split between Gould students and musicians from the community. Nyla Scott, a Gould junior from Greenwood, Maine, plays the flute and has been enjoying the new arrangement.
“It's an opportunity to connect with people in Bethel that I wouldn't otherwise,” explains Nyla. “They’re all very good musicians, so it’s also an opportunity to play really fun music. It has helped me better understand my instrument. It’s very gratifying.”