American Legion Community Band of Front Royal/Warren County, VA
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Although the American Legion Community Band has only been around since 1986, the idea for a community band in the Front Royal area began about 20 years earlier at a Fourth of July celebration in Browntown, a small community about seven miles south of Front Royal.

Vern Stollings, a Browntown resident, felt that Browntown's Fourth of July celebration needed music so he and three others decided to form a small band for the day. They practiced for the big day and when it arrived, they marched in the parade as a four-piece band and played patriotic music. The celebration was a big success.

Bill Nuernberg, a Front Royal resident and member of the American Legion Post #53, happened to hear Vern make a wish that day. He wished that Front Royal could have a community band. Bill never forgot those words.

Vern talked to many people about forming a community band but no one seemed to think it could work. He even spoke to Harry Parker, the high school band director at the time, but Harry felt there wasn't enough interest in the town. Vern died in 1981 and never saw his dream become a reality.

The idea for a community band existed only as a wish until one day in 1986 Bill Nuernberg happened to have a conversation with John Russell, the current band director at the high school in Front Royal. Bill mentioned Vern's idea for a community band and John responded with something like this: "I was just waiting for someone to ask."

John and his wife Melinda, also a music teacher, contacted their friend Ed Richards, the band director at Randolph-Macon Academy in Front Royal, and the three of them began forming the band. Ed supplied the band room at R-MA for rehearsals and around 35 people showed up for the first practice. They discovered there were many people in the local area who were just waiting for the opportunity to play in a community band.

Bill Nuernberg arranged to take on the community band as a project for the American Legion Post #53. The post donated $500 to form the band and has been sponsoring it ever since. Thanks to the Giles B. Cook Post #53 the band doesn't have to worry about finances. All concerts are free and open to the public.

The American Legion Community Band in Front Royal has become a tradition and no public celebration would be complete without it. Its biggest event is the annual Independence Day celebration at the Northern Va. 4-H Center in Front Royal.

Contact the Band Text separator 1122 Happy Ridge Dr. Text separator Front Royal, VA 22630