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Fifty years later, All-Island Band is still playing strong
When Bruce Seltveit left his four years of enlisted service with the Seabees, he joined the All-Island Community Band and never looked back.
A trombonist since middle school, Seltveit took over direction of the band four years ago.
“We love to do this,” Seltveit said. “And this is a great place to do it.”
The All-Island Community Band is rounding out its 50th year performing all over Whidbey Island. The All-Island Community Band plays all types of music from traditional military marches to holiday tunes.
The band performs at Windjammer Park each Thursday when school is out June through September. During the school year, the band rehearses and prepares for special events including Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, parades throughout the year and many Christmas performances.
Seltveit took the director’s role over from his former Oak Harbor Middle School band teacher George Konopik who directed the community band for many years and still plays saxophone with them.
“I figure this is what I was designed to do and it’s what I do best,” Konopik said. “I enjoy it.”
Former Oak Harbor Mayor Doc Ellis was a charter member of an “oompah band” formerly called the Oak Harbor Community Band that started in 1963 with Capt. Earl Hedblom, a commanding officer of the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station hospital.
The band later morphed into the All-Island Community Band that exists today, according to his wife Jan Ellis.
Jan Ellis, who has played the accordion since age 6, stepped in to help out with the band when they needed members.
“They gave me the oboe part to play,” she said.
She eventually switched to playing the bells for the band until the last few years, but remains a big supporter, attending the concerts as often as she can.
“It’s an outlet for people to express their interest in music and helps tie the community together.”
Remarking on the 35 or so people who attended Thursday’s concert, Ellis said she wished “more people would come out for the summer concerts.”
The All-Island Band has two more summer performances at 7 p.m. Thursdays, Aug. 29 and Sept. 5 at Windjammer Park Gazebo. They will resume their 7 p.m. Thursday rehearsals at Oak Harbor Middle School. Musicians of all levels are welcome to join at any time.
For more information, email to email@example.com or visit the band’s Facebook page.