NATHAN HUNSINGER/DMNEd Schwarz (left) and Bill Sleeper are forming the McKinney Community Band. They've recruited about half of the 40 members they'll need and have already lined up a performance Aug. 12 at McKinney's Ice Cream Crank-Off.

"McKinney is growing like crazy, and it's one of the few large communities around without a band," he said. "McKinney has a real interest in the arts. It seems like the right place and the time for a new band."

When the two friends first came up with the idea, they immediately contacted McKinney Mayor Bill Whitfield, who did not hesitate to support them.

"Come up with anything, and there's always a reason for a band. We have parades all the time; why wouldn't we have a band?" Mr. Whitfield said.

"We've gotten some people in the community to respond to word of mouth, and we've identified some folks in McKinney to form the nucleus of the band," Mr. Sleeper said.

Community bands are not new to Mr. Sleeper and Mr. Schwarz. Both have played in the Town North Community Band for 34 years, as well as various other musical groups. Mr. Sleeper also directed the Town North band on a couple of occasions.

"He has a real enjoyment of directing, and it's rather contagious. He's probably really excited about starting a new band," said John D'Angelo, a past president of the Town North band.

The type of music that the band will play will be typical of many community bands - patriotic music, show tunes, orchestral transcriptions and medleys. The group will get its first chance to play at McKinney's Ice Cream Crank-Off on Aug. 12.

"Personally, I think it's important to have a balance of a number of different pieces. I really enjoy marches and show tunes, but it's wonderful to have some serious stuff from time-to-time as well," said Mr. Sleeper, who lives in Dallas.

"I don't expect it to happen overnight, but really we're expecting a pretty fast response and a good response," said Mr. Schwarz, a retired aerospace engineer.

"In a town the size of McKinney, you're going to have lots and lots of people who played in school and even in college, maybe beyond that, who yearn to play some more," he said. "I think there's a chance that we may have to deal with too large a crowd."

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