The Wytheville Community College Concert Band, under the direction of Frank Pugh, will present its annual holiday concert Tuesday, December 13.
The concert will be performed at 7 p.m. at Legacy Church, 2150 West Ridge Road, Wytheville, Virginia. The performance, “Merry Melodies and Christmas Cheer,” features traditional holiday music and includes a special commissioned musical composition presented in memory of Dr. Jack White, Mr. Bill Svec, and Mr. Craig Allison. The tribute, “March for a Band So Mighty,” was composed by Joshua Alexander Idio, Filipino-American composer, educator, conductor, and trumpeter from New Jersey. Mr. Idio holds a B.M. in Music Education and an M.A. in Music Composition, and he is currently a member of the National Association for Music Education, the New Jersey Music Educators Association, and the Association of Concert Bands, and is a registered member of ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers).
Idio said, “Dr. Jack White and Bill Svec both led great programs and left inspiring legacies with the Wytheville Community College Concert Band. I am truly honored to have commissioned this piece for these individuals from the WCC community.”
The community band began in 1989 when Dr. Jack O. White returned to Wytheville as an adjunct professor at Wytheville Community College. White recruited many of his former students from his time as the George Wythe High School band director to establish the WCC Concert Band. The band remained under the direction of White until 1998 when Bill Svec, another former GWHS band director and local WYVE radio host, took the baton. Svec led the band for another 15 years before retiring in 2013. Mr. Craig Allison was a founding member of the WCC band and was also a local WYVE radio host. Mr. Allison performed during his high school years for the George Wythe High School Marching Band under White’s direction. Mr. Allison also emceed the WCC Concert Band performances for many years before his death in February of 2021.
Dr. Dan Jones, who served as the band’s concertmaster and administrator of activities from the band’s beginning in 1989 until retiring from WCC and moving away from this area in 2003, said: “The importance of Jack White, Bill Svec, and Craig Allison in building a strong foundation for the WCC Concert Band and establishing a continuing tradition of excellence in musical performance and service to the community cannot be overstated. Jack, Bill, and Craig will always be deeply loved and greatly missed by band members and the entire community. They truly deserve to be recognized by this special tribute, and they will always have our thanks and our gratitude.”
Since its inception, the Wytheville Community College Concert band has been comprised of community members, college students, and gifted high school students from throughout WCC’s service region. Frank Pugh, now in his ninth year as Director of the WCC Concert Band, is a 1987 graduate of George Wythe High School and has served as the Band Director at Fort Chiswell High School and Middle School for the last 26 years.
The concert is free of charge, but donations to the WCC Concert Band are gladly accepted to help support band costs.
Photo: Joshua Alexander Idio composed a special memorial tribute for the WCC Concert Band’s holiday performance.