From music she finds community

archive_import /

By ERIC BURKETT

Say "music" to Mickey Harper, and she thinks "community."

Say "art" and she thinks "community."

For Harper, "community" has a wide range of meanings, some more subtle than others but all of them central in her approach to music.

Harper grew up in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties, and after several years in Washington state came home. She spent 19 years working construction. She also writes. And in the midst of all this, music has almost always been a constant.

Now living in Sonora with her partner and their son, the California native and trombonist conducts two community bands: the Calaveras County Community Band, and the Great Mother Lode Brass & Reed Band. The first is based in Calaveras County, and the second in Tuolumne County. Both receive a great deal of support from Columbia College.

The Tuolumne County band includes many professionals and semi-professionals. While it veers into swing and the occasional show tune, its focus is largely what Harper describes as "transcripted classics" classic band music and classical pieces transcribed for bands, as opposed to orchestras.

The Calaveras County band, on the other hand, is comprised of talented, passionate amateurs, and focuses on show tunes and big band music. Marches make forays into the band's repertoire, too.

The Tuolumne band is about a decade old; Calaveras' band is about 12 decades old.

What the two do have in common is that sense of community that means so much to Harper.

"Community musicians have the ability to be in touch with people," she said, "the immediacy of people's feelings and needs."

Those feelings can range from the powerful emotions that people felt after Sept. 11 to the pleasure of sharing.

Five days after terrorists crashed airplanes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon, Harper was conducting the Calaveras band at the Zucchini Festival in Utica Park. An older veteran approached her and asked her if she could do or say anything in recognition of the horrible events earlier that week.

11700938
The Union Democrat
This image is copyrighted.

Reach all of Sonora, Calaveras County, Tuolumne, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, & Jamestown with your items to sell.

Ads appear Online and in Print

View Classifieds Place an Ad

Connect with The Union Democrat

Union Democrat Newsstand

Thursday April 28, 2016

Read digital interactive editions of our publications

Read Today's Edition Take A Tour

More Publications by The Union Democrat

View All Publications
McPherson sentenced to 36 years in prison

04/22/2016

A man was sentenced to 36 years in state prison for sexually ... more

Dual enrollment: High school meets college

04/22/2016

It takes 60 credits to graduate with an associate’s degree from Columbia ... more

Ambulance rides on the rise in Tuolumne County

04/22/2016

Ambulance rides in Tuolumne County are expected to increase 18 percent this ... more

Jamestown teen realizes queen dream

04/26/2016

Karissa Rogers, named 2016 Mother Lode Roundup Queen on Sunday, swept the ... more

Sostock plans to pursue medicine elsewhere

04/22/2016

Lori Sostock told The Union Democrat Friday that, despite giving up her ... more