Arts and Entertainment

Marysville Strawberry Concert Band hopes music lovers will hear ‘How Sweet It Is’

The Marysville Strawberry Concert Band, which resumes its practices at Totem Middle School on Jan. 9, has more empty seats than they
The Marysville Strawberry Concert Band, which resumes its practices at Totem Middle School on Jan. 9, has more empty seats than they'd like for a 50-piece band.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

MARYSVILLE — After capping off 2012 with a pair of well-attended and well-received performances, the Marysville Strawberry Concert Band is taking a break for the winter holidays, but when they resume their Wednesday practice sessions from 6-8 p.m. at Totem Middle School on Jan. 9, the band’s conductors and instrumentalists hope to see a few more faces showing up to play.

“Our concerts went really well,” said Nathan Sackman, who conducts the band with Peter Joseph, of the Friday shows on Nov. 30, at the Marysville Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Dec. 7, at Cedarcrest Middle School. “The band played well, and we got a very good showing. More people turned out than I had expected. From now on, it’s just practicing for the spring.”

As the Marysville Strawberry Concert Band enters its second year, one of its biggest stumbling blocks remains the number of musicians in the band itself. It’s sent out fliers calling for wide varieties of clarinet, saxophone, horn and drum players, among other instrument chairs that Sackman and Joseph would like to see filled for future concerts, to make it a proper 50-piece band.

“We could just use a lot more percussionists in general,” Sackman said. “I’d like some more trombone players. When we’re absent a tuba player, the whole band’s sound just seems flat without it.”

Sackman reassured nervous musicians that any and all experience levels are more than welcomed into the band.

“We’ll always take anyone without auditions,” said Sackman, who invited both high school and college-level musicians, as well as those who are older and long out of practice. “It’s like riding a bike.”

Julie Tapusoa temporarily lost the ability to play the flute after the removal of her wisdom teeth left her with nerve damage that numbed parts of her mouth and face, but she’s recovered well enough in the years since not only to play the flute at her church for special Christmas concerts, but also to teach others how to play the instrument.

“My opportunities to play for these last several years have not been challenging to my skills, but they have provided me continued chances to perform and keep myself playing at some level,” Tapusoa said. “I moved to Marysville in 2004 and wished it had a community band. When I learned that a band had been formed [in 2012], I didn’t hesitate to join.”

In 1959, Anna Kruse picked up a bassoon for the first time at the age of 9. For the next four years, she and her sisters competed in concert and marching band contests across the Midwest, and in high school, she continued playing in the marching band, the symphonic band and the pit orchestra for musicals. Although she decided not to pursue music as an adult career because “my talents were limited,” she began to reflect on how music had influenced her life when her own children started school.

“I love being part of an ensemble of musicians of all ages and skill levels, who play for the simple love of making music each week and sharing it with others,” said Kruse, now a teacher at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, and formerly a member of the long-since-defunct Marysville City Band. “Every week I get to go back a little in time and be a band kid again — so long as no one asks me to march.”

Melanie Shelton is a senior at M-PHS, but she started playing the trumpet in fifth grade. High school has seen her take part in a wind ensemble, a competitive marching band, a pep band and a parade marching band for all four years, so when she found out that Sackman and Joseph were starting up a new band, she asked herself, “Why not?”

“I gave it a try and was not disappointed,” Shelton said. “Mr. Joseph and Mr. Sackman are great teachers, and I have loved learning from them. I have also really enjoyed the music and the other community members. I am excited to see how much this band grows in the future.”

The Marysville Strawberry Concert Band wishes to thank Marysville Cleaners and Marysville Vacuum & Sewing for their support, and invites musicians who are interested in playing traditional concert music, show tunes, marches, selections from musicals and big band numbers to call Tapusoa at 425-344-1791, or email Sackman at


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