Dressed to the nines with harmonious melodies accompanying them, the Metropolitan Atlanta Community Band (MACB) played to a packed house at Frederick Douglass High School this past Sunday for its annual Spring Concert.
Founded in November of 1996 by Dr. Alfred D. Wyatt, Sr., the MACB began as a small collective of band directors. Dr. Wyatt recalls years of conversation around developing the organization until finally placing a call for the initial meeting at his home with a small core group of eight or so musicians.
Dr. Wyatt, the director of the band and a member of the Adamsville community, is a retiree of Atlanta Public Schools having worked in the system for more than 40 years, during which time he also taught music at Clark College, now Clark Atlanta University. It was his love and passion for music that fueled the need to realize his dream of starting a professional organization such as the MACB.
“I was a student of Dr. Wyatt’s [at Clark College] in 1978," said Carla Oglesby, a bassoonist with the band who lives in the Oakland City area of the West End. "He was great then and he’s great now with this wonderful organization and opportunity.”
Curtis Byrdsong, a founding member and the MACB's Associate Director, spent nineteen years as a band director for Atlanta Public Schools, most recently at the now-closed Smith High School. When Byrdsong joined the MACB in 1996 he said it was because of a need in urban Atlanta an organization where seasoned individuals, who perhaps were not working for orchestras, could put their musical talents to use.
“We are all volunteers," Byrdsong said. "I do it because music is my passion."
The MACB has played many events throughout the years to include the National Black Music Caucus, The Rialto Center for the Performing Arts, the Black Family Reunion at Grant Park, the Christian Living Center in Union City, Carrie Steele-Pitts Children's Home, Friendship Baptist Church, Cosmopolitan AME Church, Spelman College, and Morehouse College, to name a few.
With regard to its effort in reaching today’s youth, the MACB has given more than thirty thousand dollars in scholarship funds—thanks, in part, to generous donations from donors—to its young members seeking to further their education. The band currently has more than fifty members, including two exceptionally talented middle school and high school students performing with them.
“Our band consistently has fifty to sixty members when we’re performing,” says Dr. Wyatt of his band that has seen some 400 members participate throughout the years.
“I look forward to seeing it grow even bigger,” Dr. Wyatt says of the start of their fourteenth year.