Ken Wood

Ken C. Wood stands with a horn inside of The Band Room in Harker Heights. Forever Strong a new musical march written by Ken is set to be prefored for the first time during the God and Country concert at Killeen High School July 1 2018

The Heights Concert Band will host a free concert at 2 p.m. Sunday in the Killeen High School Auditorium, 500 N. 38th St.

The concert will feature the music of Americana, patriotic and a variety of other music.

The Heights Concert Band, which is fully funded by the Band Room in Harker Heights, will use this free concert to establish a new summer concert series.

“For 13 years, the band played concerts at First United Methodist Church and other locations in Waco,” said Ken Wood, a partner in the operation of the Band Room, a composer and euphonium player.

“The July 1 concert won’t require the audience to stand outside in 105 degree heat but will be enjoyed by all in an inside comfortable and cool venue,” Wood said.

About 60 musicians from Austin, Waco, Lampasas, Temple and the local area make up the band. The band also has an apprentice program that brings in two high school students per section. “They give people a glimpse of what kids can do after high school if they continue to play in a band,” Wood said.

New director Randy Kelley, who took over the conducting responsibilities of the Heights Concert Band in March 2017, came from several years of being high school band director at Copperas Cove ISD. Following about a year of retirement from CCISD, Kelley accepted the invitation to direct the Heights Concert Band. Kelley is also the assistant fine arts director for the Killeen Independent School District.

Kelley had a long-standing relationship with founding director Carlton Morris who died last year.

For this concert, Kelley is planning something new. He is including members who were in band programs at Lampasas, Copperas Cove and Killeen.

According to Wood, 36 out of the 60 members are graduates of local bands. “Our oldest member graduated from KHS in 1969,” Wood said.

Wood, who is a 40-year charter member of the Heights Concert Band, is a prolific writer of instrumental music and composes about three new tunes per year.

“I generally write my music on the lawnmower while cutting the grass,” he said. “You know how you just go back and forth. That motion can lend itself to a few notes or measures here and there. I stop the mower and run into the house to jot it down. That leads me to several fragments of music that I eventually assemble into a complete musical work. I come up with an outline then fill it up with the melody line and the various parts.”

Wood never earned a college degree. Out of high school, he was in a band in the Army, and then made his way to the Band Room. He is from Rochester, New York, and did take some lessons but admits, “I studied but didn’t learn much but did take private lessons at the Eastman. It was Mr. Morris who took me to a higher level.”

Wood recently composed a brand new march titled “Forever Strong,” which the band will debut for the first time this Sunday.

For more information about the concert, call the Harker Heights location of the Band Room at 254- 699-2263 or check their website: thebandroomtx.com.

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