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Band stirs 'spirit of holidays'

From left, NOCB sax players Mike Ulrich, Bob Cafmeyer, Larry Weinert, and Diana Borrusch jazz it up. Photo by Laura Colvin (click for larger version)
December 01, 2010 - It'll get you in mood for Christmas.

That's the word from Annette Kline as she describes the North Oakland Concert Band's (NOCB) holiday performance scheduled for this weekend.

The concert will feature holiday favorites like Leroy Anderson's Sleigh Ride, as well as musical highlights from the Disney movie Babes in Toyland, the classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas and much more.

"We'll get you in the spirit of the holidays with some really enjoyable music," said Kline, conductor and musical director for the NOCB since 1988.

The concert is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 5 at Christ the Redeemer Church.

Most of the band's 80 adult musicians - many from Lake Orion, Oxford, Rochester and surrounding communities - joined after playing in high school and college.

But not just anyone can show up for the group's Thursday night rehearsals. Membership is by invitation and audition.

"When we need to fill a spot we look for someone with experience and a sense of dedication," said Kline, who also teaches band at Waldon Middle School.

Selective membership allows her to maintain a high-quality band and ensure the community enjoys a first-rate, professional performance at each concert.

It pays off: The band is regarded as a premier community ensemble, and this year, the NOCB was chosen to attend the National Convention of the Association of Concert Bands in Muskegon.

For Kline, the excellence is about a passion for music.

"When I'm on the podium my ears are working very hard," she said. "I'm listening intently to all the sounds coming at me - the many different tones, shapes and colors - and blending them all together into the right mold."

Kline began playing the clarinet in fifth grade, and received her Bachelor's degree in Instrumental Music Education from Oakland University, and a Master's in Instrumental Conducting from OU, as well.

But as a musician and conductor, there's always room for growth.

"I'll always work to improve," she said. "For the rest of my life I'll always try to be better and better and better."

The same holds true for members of the NOCB.

"It's amazing how adults are so eager to learn and improve," Kline said.

NOCB Saxophonist George Sinnott agreed. With just two years of piano under his belt, Sinnott shelled out $35 and bought a saxophone from a friend in high school.

"Once I picked it up I never stopped," said Sinnott, a longtime Lake Orion resident. "Even as an officer in the military, I always kept playing."

The NOCB is a non-profit organization.

"Our concerts are always free," explained Sinnott, the band's business manager. "But donations are welcome, and certainly appreciated."

Refreshments will be available after Sunday's concert, and the North Oakland Dixieland Band will make sure the music keeps playing.

For more information about the North Oakland Concert Band, visit

Please see more North Oakland Concert Band photos on page 32.

Lake Orion Review Editor
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