Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Ten Years Ago—My Online Cousin

Notes from the Concord Band
Another in our occasional series looking back ten years....  Band member Dave Southard created the Concord Band web site in 1995 when the web was still in its infancy. For all we know, it is the first community band web site in the history of the universe! Fundraising chair Dan Diamond, never at a loss for a new angle, ran this article in the Winter 2002 issue of our traditional newsletter, Notes from the Concord Band.

As publications go, both my online cousin, www.concordband.org (or concordband.org as he is known to the family), and I are relatively young. I'm a teenager, having been born in the autumn of 1989. Concordband.org is six years younger, first appearing on the scene in 1995. I am an example of what marketing gurus might call a semi-intrusive medium. That is, I show up in the mail to make my presence known, but you still have to take the trouble to read me. Concordband.org is strictly non-intrusive: You have to decide to read him. But he can do things I can only dream about!

While I am mailed twice a year to about 3,200 homes and businesses, he can be looked at any hour of the day or night by hundreds of millions of people anywhere on the earth, and (for all I know) other planets as well. And while my content must be finalized, and made as close to error-free as possible no later than seven to ten business days before mailing (for which we must allow a month prior to each major concert), his content can be changed on a moment's notice. Which, dear reader, brings me to my purpose here: The Concord Band expends a lot of energy making useful information available to you through our website. Please take advantage of it.

Concordband.org was created by one computer scientist/Band member, saxophonist Dr. David Southard, and since May, 2001, has been updated and managed by another, Board member and trombonist/keyboardist David Tweed. The site was initially created as an unanticipated gift to the Band, but quickly became a useful source of information not only for Band members, our Board, and members of our local audiences, but also for the many individuals around the United States and the world who do various kinds of research on concert bands.

Because very few Band members do not have access to the Internet, the Concord Band website has now become an integral and official part of the administration of the Band. It is used to maintain rehearsal and concert schedules as well as the Band roster, with address changes submitted directly by individual members. Concordband.org also simplifies and secures the transmission of email messages to Band members and the Board, making it unnecessary for individual members or the Board to track email address changes and making announcements to the entire Band quite easy. The website has also become a repository for Concord Band archival information and photographs.

Local audience members can use the website to obtain program listings for upcoming programs, which is particularly useful during June and July, when the Band plays ten or more concerts which receive little individual publicity. Supporters of the Band as well as others interested in recordings of music for symphonic wind ensemble can also read descriptions of and listen to sound samples from the two CD's the Concord Band has released to date. The second of these became available only this past September. To our audiences and beyond, concordband.org offers a database of program notes, a useful research tool, and biographies of guest conductors and soloists.

Just as in the supposed old Chinese proverb, a picture is worth 10,000 words (actually a slogan invented in 1921 by an American advertising executive), no amount of textual description is as good as an actual visit to a website. Please visit ours, and let us know how we can make it even more useful to you.

You can still subscribe to Notes from the Concord Band via the web site, and receive a copy in your mail box semiannually.

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