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Playing music and raising funds for decent acoustics in the Wilson auditorium

It doesn't matter how good the band is if the acoustics suck.

So the Southwest Portland Community Band is bringing its act back to the Multnomah Arts Center on Sunday, Jan. 12, for a free concert. Food and drink will be available for purchase with all proceeds going toward the purchase of a $15,000 sound shell for the Wilson High School Auditorium.

That's where the band played its inaugural concert four years ago.

"The concert was terrible, but only because the sound was so bad," said clarinetist Kristin Rencher, who originally pitched the idea of forming the band to Wilson band director and music instructor Nick Caldwell.

His plate was pretty full but he signed on and now, five years later, it's time for the 2020 winter concert.

"We will be having a folk music concert. We will be playing folk songs arranged for band from Scandinavia, Israel, United States and Argentina, especially arranged for the band," he said in an email. "This will be our eighth performance and we're up to 45 members."

The band is made up of musicians playing a dozen different instruments. Among them are Wilson students, parents, friends and community members who can play a bit. Many of the mature band members played in high school or college then gave up music when "they had kids and got real jobs," Caldwell said. The youngest member is a sophomore at Wilson; the oldest is 65. The band has been rehearsing every two weeks for the concert.

Doors will open at 6 p.m. on Jan. 12. At the summer concert there was plenty of pot luck food and beer from the award-winning Von Ebert brewery.

The website for the SW Portland Community Band is

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