Community Band Performing Galactic Concert May 2

CONDUCTING THE BAND — Giving the Vulcan salute are conductor Dr. Scott Humphries and assistant conductor Susan Jehl, who will be directing the Fort Wayne Area Community Band’s Beyond the Stars concert May 2 at the John & Ruth Rhinehart Music Center on the Purdue Fort Wayne campus. Concert goers are encouraged to dress as their favorite sci-fi characters.

Article by Rod King
Featured in the April 2023 issue of Senior Life (

       The Fort Wayne Area Community Band’s May 2 concert is expected to have some outlandishly dressed individuals in its audience. Theme for the concert is Beyond the Stars and concert goers are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite sci-fi characters. Members of the band will also be in costume and there will be a parade of the costumed attendees.

       Music to be performed includes the Star Wars Trilogy, Star Trek, Jupiter Hymn and Mars from The Planets, Legends of the Galaxy fanfare, Halo Theme from Video Games Live and topping off with When You Wish Upon a Star

       “With all this exciting space themed music, people in costume in the audience and on stage and a costume parade, this should be a really fun concert,” says conductor Dr. Scott Humphries. “Principle flutist Kelly Hombarger and principle percussionist Patrick Kruse actually came up with the space idea after our Super Hero concert before the pandemic and assistant conductor Susan Jehl and I were 100 percent for it. We began working on some of it back in January.

       “The music she and I chose is all very challenging. Everything we have been performing in concerts leading to this one has been building up to doing the orchestral version of the Star Wars Trilogy. The band has been on an upward trajectory since last September and has been getting better each week. We’ve been working on creating a warm, dark sound that is fitting for this music.

       “I will probably be in some sort of a costume,” says Humphries, “but it will have to be loose enough so I can direct the band without getting all tangled up,” he added.        

       Jehl, who will be conducting half of the program, says she listened to hours and hours of music early in the year to find just the right works that would fit the theme and appeal to the audience. “Our principal percussionist suggested one I had never heard that is from a space colony video game called Halo Theme from Video Games Live. It’s pretty cool and should be crowd pleaser. Mars, composed by Gustav Holst, is a real challenging piece.”

       Dr. Humphries, who has been principal conductor of the Community Band for the past eight years, serves as associate professor of music and director of bands and music education at Manchester University and teaches saxophone and clarinet. He earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in music education from Boston University.

       Jehl, who joined the Community Band in 1980, has been an assistant conductor nearly 40 years. “Tuesday has always been a favorite day for me because no matter what’s going on, I have band (Tuesday is rehearsal night) to look forward to. Whether I’m playing my clarinet or conducting the band, it’s the highlight of my week.” She’s retired from teaching music and directing bands in Fort Wayne since getting her Masters at Ball State University in 1988.

       The galactic program will be staged at the John & Ruth Rhinehart Music Center on the Purdue Fort Wayne campus. Downbeat will be at 7:30 p.m. Adult tickets are $9, seniors $8 and persons under 18 are free. PFW students/faculty free with valid ID and non-Purdue students are $5.