Villages Music Society OUR MISSION
Our objective is to provide an opportunity for residents of The Villages who wish to sing in a choral group for their own enjoyment; and for the enjoyment of our community and audiences wherever we may find them. We seek to improve our skills through the development of our talents. Our objective is a high standard of performance with quality production, accuracy and beauty.
In October 1984, Marshall Dahneke, a retired music teacher, moved
to The Villages. After 34 years of teaching high school and college
music, he desired to remain active. He ran an “ad” in The Villager in
January 1985 inviting musically talented residents to meet with him
to form a Villages Orchestra.
Eight musicians gathered on February 8th, 1985 in the Cribari
Conference Room and decided to form an orchestra. They borrowed music and began, although with some apprehension. Charter members were: Peggy Osborne and Marian Pease, violins; Fredone Jones, piano; Constance Untch, cello; Alice Brown and Pete Clements, saxophones; Henry Pilch, trumpet and Martha Rudy, flute.
In May 1985, the new 13-member orchestra presented their first concert to a retired teachers association. Later that year, in December, the now 35-member orchestra played two Christmas dinner programs to a standing ovation. They were tremendously encouraged.
The Villages Dance Band was formed in 1986 and played with five saxophones, two trumpets, a piano and, if lucky, a drummer. Enthusiastic and vigorous “conscription” brought the group to full strength by 1987 with 17 members plus a vocalist.
Fond memories of leading five different concert bands during his teaching career prompted Marshall to organize a band in late 1986. He reasoned that a band would be more appropriate for July 4th and Veterans Day. They could present outdoor concerts in the summer, too. By 1990 the band had reached a balanced membership of 36 musicians.
In 1987, all these groups were combined under a new Villages Music Society and coincidentally, Marshall got married. His bride, Eloise, a talented musician too, agreed to form a choral group. The Village Voices started with 22 singers at the first rehearsal and grew to over 60 members.
On Tuesday, May 11, 1993 the first meeting of the future Villages Piano Club was held with Fredone Jones and Bobbie Cronquist as “ringleaders.” When they outgrew private homes, the first Program for Listeners was held in the Cribari Conference Room on April 17, 1994. The Program for Listeners series continues annually and is free to the public.
In 1994, due to the loss of several key members, plus the heavy workload undertaken by Marshall as the instrumental director for the music society, the orchestra was suspended as a separate entity.
Earl and Kathi Levin formed a handbell ensemble in 1997. They even bought the first four octaves of handbells themselves. Some of the first members, as today, were members of the
Village Voices. The Handbells
perform regularly, both in The
Villages and at outside events.
In 1999, Marshall and Eloise
sold their Villages home and moved to Lincoln City CA. With both the instrumental and vocal directors leaving, it became necessary to find new and talented leaders for the band and Voices.
The band chose Frank Ybarra, a trumpet player within its ranks to lead them. Frank resigned after about a year and the band searched for a new conductor and found Dr. Hal Peterson, the current director, who has led them wonderfully since.
ken Carter, already a Villages resident from 1998, noticed the vacancy in the Voices and called to offer his services. He met first with VMS President, Trudy Odbert, and Voices President, Bob Geisler, then the entire group, and offered to lead them provided they would take concert tours with him. The deal was struck and Ken has continued as The Voices second musical director and conductor. The group, now grown to over 100 members, has traveled to Italy, Canada, Ireland, Switzerland, Germany, and Holland. In the US they have cruised New England and the Mississippi River and concertized thru California, Nevada and Utah. They continue to progress in professionalism.
In 2001 a professional concert series was conceived by Ken Carter and established with the help of some very dedicated Village Voices members and others. The series has been rich with nationally and internationally known artists. The series has welcomed pianists David Henley (Chicago); Jonathan Bass (Boston Symphony), Neilson and Young (Dallas), Kinako Inagawa (Japan), Gwendolyn Mok (San Jose State), Ted Cornell (Virginia); active Broadway singers Cindy Marchionda (Early One Morning), Jeanne Smith (Les Miz), Carol Jaudes (Cats), George Merritt (Jekyll and Hyde et al); classical singers Aimee Puentes (San Francisco Opera et al), Richard Zeller (Metropolitan Opera), Opus Dei and Gloria Dei (San Francisco Opera), Bella Sorella (operatic duo); The Pacific Boys Choir (Oakland); Instrumentalists Guitarres y Congas, Edelmann and Rust (Germany), The St. Lawrence String Quartet (Stanford resident quartet), The Gryphon Trio (Toronto), The Birchfield Brothers (Nashville), The Stanford Strings and the South Bay Brass.
The musical heritage of The Villages is rich and diverse. We hope you appreciate our history and contribute significantly in our future.
Villages Music Society - Officers and Leadership 2019-2020
President Pam Pierson VV
Vice President* Gary Hill VV
Recording Secretary Roberta Wolfe VV
Corporation Secretary Kathi Levin VV, CB, HB
Treasurer Eric Pierson PC
Concert Band President Kathi Levin CB, VV, HB
Handbells President Kay Roggenbuck HB, VV
Piano Club President Estelle Kabani PC
Voices President Janis Hubbs VV
Concert Band Director Jacque Leonard CB
Concert Series Director Ken Carter VV, CS
Handbells Directors Kathy Levin HB, VV, CB
Earl Levin HB, CB, SB
Voices Director Ken Carter VV, CS
Voices Assoc. Director Susan Ahlgrimm VV
Friends n Family Concerts Director Ken Carter VV, CS
Harp Connection Linda Rollo HC
Members at Large Victor Clifford CB