Welcome

 
It is with great sadness that we have learned
of the passing of our founder,
Charles H. Armstrong. 



  Former Supervisor of Music and longtime band director in the Charles County Public Schools, Armstrong had a dream: to recreate the American tradition of community bands in Southern Maryland. The golden age of bands, from the mid-1800s to the 1920s, was characterized by each community having its own volunteer band. Because radio and records did not exist during most of this period, the only form of musical entertainment in many communities was the town band, which typically performed on Sunday afternoons from the town bandstand. Occasionally, a professional band would come to town; these bands, which sometimes numbered up to 2,000 instrumentalists and 20,000 vocalists, generated great excitement wherever they performed. The popularity of bands reached its apex at the turn of the century when John Philip Sousa, the "March King," created his own touring band, "The Sousa Band." 
 
  Through Armstrong's vision, the "Community Concert Band, Inc." was formed in early 1984 in Charles County, largely by Armstrong contacting former students from his 25 years of teaching. In 1985, the name was changed to "Southern Maryland Concert Band" to reflect the wide geographic diversity of the band's membership and its public performance locations throughout the four counties of Southern Maryland.

  Charles H. Armstrong was born in Elizabeth City, North Carolina on November 3, 1931. He passed away on Saturday, December 2, 2017 peacefully in his home at the age of 86.

  He is predeceased in death by his father, Willard Franklin Armstrong, his mother, Peggy Armstrong-Belanga and his step-father, Mike Belanga. He is survived by his loving wife Betty Helene Armstrong, his children Charles Raphael Armstrong, Carmel Ann Wood (Husband, Bill Wood), Betty Teresa (TC) O’Brien, (Husband, Steve O’Brien), grandchildren, Brittany Michele Wood, Kayla Marie Wood, Madelyn Elise Mazzeo and Great granddaughter, Mallory Ann Pyles, daughter of Brittany Marie Wood and Steve Daniel Pyles Jr. He also leaves his loving Sister-in-laws, Florine Joyner and Doretha Vaughan, friends, many nieces and nephews and musicians and students whose lives he touched deeply. 

  His love for music was evident at a young age and was proud to say he was a lead trombone player and drum major of the 100 piece marching band of Elizabeth City High School. Just out of high school he won 1st place with is trombone solo on the Horace Height Show. He received a Bachelors of Music Education from East Carolina University where he was also active in the dance band and marching band. At East Carolina he met the love of his life Betty Helene Armstrong. He served two years in the Army as 1st Trombone player in the 3rd Army Headquarters Band, the top band in Atlanta, Georgia and during this time was invited to tour with Hal McIntosh Band. He went to graduate school at Notre Dame University and was proud to be a member of the “Fighting Irish” Concert Band and even played a “blues” solo he wrote himself at the halftime football show with the Notre Dame Marching Band. While at Notre Dame he was a trombone soloist and loved playing and supporting his family by teaching music, giving private lessons and playing in Jazz Nightclubs. He moved his family to Maryland in1964 and originally taught at 5 elementary schools and worked the summers for the “Head Start” program. Superintendent of Charles County Public Schools, Jessie Starkey, was so impressed with his musicianship, interaction with the students and his original song “Laughing Place” that he hired him as the first Music Supervisor in Charles County. 

  As Music Supervisor he was instrumental in starting the Tri-County Honor Band program to bring more opportunity to the instrumental students of Southern Maryland. Missing what he loved most, teaching and students, he went back to the classroom and started teaching again. He had many highlights in his teaching career but he was proud to say that under his direction the Matthew Henson Middle school band was the first to get straight ones at the State Band Festival on grade level 3 music and the Lackey High School band was the 1st Grade 6 band in Charles County to get straight ones at State. Several years after he retired from teaching he brought his new dream to life by creating the Southern Maryland Concert Band. He leaves not only this legacy behind, now 33 years strong, but the legacy of all the students’ lives he touched along the way. 

  A visitation will be held on Wednesday, December 6, 2017 from 6 PM to 8 PM at Raymond Funeral Service, P.A. 5635 Washington Avenue LaPlata, MD 20646 where a funeral service will be held on Thursday, December 7 at 9:30 AM. Interment to follow at Trinity Memorial Gardens in Waldorf. 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Do you play an instrument? Join us. No audition necessary!
Instrumentalists are always welcome! Our group is made up of all ages and skill levels,
but all of our instrumentalists have, at a minimum, six to eight years of playing experience.
Unlike some bands, we are not a "learn to play an instrument" organization.
We enjoy making music together, and we wish to serve the community.
If you are interested in joining us, we welcome guests at our rehearsals.
Contact our conductor at mail.smcb@yahoo.com if you would like to stop in.

During the school year, we rehearse on almost every Tuesday evening at 7:30 in the
Band Room at Thomas Stone High School, 3785 Leonardtown Road, Waldorf.
(Park in the lot to the right rear of the building. The Band Room is in the back of the school.)
 
We do not rehearse on school holidays or inclement weather days when schools are closed.
We take a Winter Break in December; and a Summer Break from mid-June 'til mid-August.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
We are currently on Winter Break, until January, 2018.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
 
"Like" us on Facebook where we post the most up-to-date information.

 

 
  The Southern Maryland Concert Band was formed in 1984 as an all-volunteer, non-profit, community-based ensemble of adult and student instrumentalists dedicated to performing quality concert band music for audiences in and around Southern Maryland.

  Our founder, Charles Armstrong, former Supervisor of Music and longtime band director in the Charles County Public Schools, had a dream: to recreate the American tradition of community bands in Southern Maryland. The golden age of bands, from the mid-1800s to the 1920s, was characterized by each community having its own volunteer band. Because radio and records did not exist during most of this period, the only form of musical entertainment in many communities was the town band, which typically performed on Sunday afternoons from the town bandstand. Occasionally, a professional band would come to town; these bands, which sometimes numbered up to 2,000 instrumentalists and 20,000 vocalists, generated great excitement wherever they performed. The popularity of bands reach its apex at the turn of the century when John Philip Sousa, the "March King," created his own touring band, "The Sousa Band."
 
  Through Armstrong's vision, the "Community Concert Band, Inc." was formed in early 1984 in Charles County, largely by Armstrong contacting former students from his 25 years of teaching. In 1985, the name was changed to "Southern Maryland Concert Band" to reflect the wide geographic diversity of the band's membership and its public performance locations throughout the four counties of Southern Maryland.
 
  Based in Charles County since its inception, the SMCB has performed many formal and community concerts over the years. The SMCB is the only community-based instrumental ensemble dedicated to providing quality, yet affordable music to families in Southern Maryland. In addition to formal concerts, 8 to 10 informal community concerts are presented each season at fairs, festivals, historic occasions and special events. We are committed to performing a challenging quality music repertoire and rehearsing diligently from January through the end of October each year to ensure the finest musical product possible from our members. With no audition requirement, the SMCB brings together all levels of musicians - from high school age with little performing experience to retirees who have performed with the military bands. This mix of experience levels makes for exciting learning experiences and enhances the overall musicianship of all those involved.
 
  The Southern Maryland Concert Band relies on financial support from our community. We have programs for both individual contributors and corporate sponsors. We sincerely appreciate your generosity.


Like us on Facebook

Comments