Music in the parks: The Metroparks Ensemble is on the hunt for new members

Posted at 6:38 AM, Sep 05, 2017

A gust of wind, leaves blowing, water rushing and with the final couple weeks of summer approaching, it might just be your last to hear all the blissful sounds of nature.

“It’s just sort of a pure kind of thing,” said Karen Bennett Director for the Summit County Metroparks Ensemble.

Every Tuesday, the group of volunteers shows up a half hour early, just to tune up, pretty standard for the average band.

“We have trombones, euphoniums, tubas,” Bennett said.

But there’s nothing average or ordinary about the Metroparks ensemble at all.

“You know you’re out in nature,” Bennett said.

In addition to mother nature, Bill Wilkerson, who plays the Trombone, said there’s an even deeper bond.

“This band, it’s family,” he said.

A family is one of the things setting this band apart.

“That makes it great, where else can you do that in a band?” said Wilkerson.

He joined the group when it was first formed back in 2001 with his son Paul Wilkerson. The duo picked up the trombone for the very first time, and have been learning together how to play, ever since.

“It wasn’t until my dad and I went out in 2001 and bought the trombones that I played a horn,” Paul Wilkerson said.

Bill, who has always been fascinated with the instrument since childhood during the great depression, never got a chance to play because he couldn’t afford it.

“I watched the other people like ‘oh that looks like so much fun,’” he said.

But later, at age 70, he got to finally play, and 16 years later, he and his son continue to learn as they go.

“We walk together, we work on projects together, we play trombones together,” he said.

And that’s precisely how this band of volunteer musicians got started, on families coming together, and that’s how they continue to function.

“We’re not the only family in here. There’s a synergy that happens when you’re playing with somebody else,” said Paul Wilkerson.

The band is all volunteer. If you want to catch them live, they’ll be playing tonight at 7. You can see a list of their performance here on the Metroparks website.