Hometown Band in tune with community

From a 13-year-old trumpet player to a 90-year-old clarinetist, the Hometown Band features about 45 musicians led since 1986 by a conductor who is hanging up his baton.

Founded in Kingston in 1982 by Ed Swanzey and a dozen musicians, the Hometown Band returns for a concert on the Green at the Village Green Community Center 6:30-8 p.m. July 24. It will feature a mix of musical genres including traditional concert music, show tunes, military marches, patriotic songs and an occasional jazz or swing number. Like all of its concerts, it is free.

The volunteer musicians play about 30 concerts a year at local civic events, festivals and public gatherings in venues ranging from parks, retirement centers, and churches, to Oktoberfests.

Formerly rehearsing in Beck’s automotive garage in Poulsbo where musicians set up and played under the car lifts and later at the Poulsbo Junior High School, the band is now based more centrally in Silverdale.

The band’s conductor, Jas Linford, first heard the Hometown Band at a 4th of July concert on Bainbridge Island and, picking up a spare tuba, joined it on the spot.

A lifelong musician starting with the baritone, ukulele, accordion and tuba, Linford played with in high school bands and the Green River Community College orchestra. While serving in the U.S. Air Force he played in the Denver Concert Band and various brass ensembles and went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree in music at the University of Washington where he served as majordomo of the Husky marching band.

Over the years he has performed in a variety of musical groups ranging from the Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra to the Kitsap Banjo Club. He teaches private lessons and in 2000 opened Jas Linford’s Brassworks, a musical instrument repair shop. He now plays tuba with Bethany Brass, Farragut Brass Band, and the Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra, among other groups.

Linford plans to step away from the podium at the end of this year, but will remain with the band in the tuba and euphonium section.

In addition to seeking a new conductor, the band also welcomes musicians who want to play in a friendly and supportive environment. The group boasts a number of accomplished and professional musicians, but, according to the band’s website at www.hometownband.org members ”don’t have to have any formal requirements or qualifications and don’t require an audition. It might help if you’ve been in some sort of a band before and can read music!”