History of the Raleigh Concert Band

The Raleigh Concert Band is a non-profit organization that provides adult musicians an opportunity to perform music in formal concert venues as well as for community events. For its many years of performances at events such as the Fourth of July celebration and the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on the grounds of North Carolina's historic Capitol building, the band received the honorary title of "The State Capitol Band."  Organized in August 1978, the group was previously known as the Raleigh City Band and the Raleigh Community Band. From a beginning roster of about 30 musicians, the band has grown to its current size of over 70 volunteer brass, woodwind, and percussion players.

Band members come from a variety of backgrounds and professions, including retirees, students, teachers, doctors, engineers, and computer programmers. While some members have a formal background in music, most simply enjoy playing an instrument and performing for an audience.  Recently, one of our band members was quoted as saying "We're a concert band that plays formal concerts and community events. We've been around for more than 30 years and we do all this because we love it." 

The band library has a wide repertoire including: classical arrangements, ragtime, show tunes, marches, music for children, and much more. The music chosen for each concert is tailored to the audience.

Conductor Lem Hardy

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Ever since 1993 when his parents bought him a book on how to play the piano, Lem Hardy has been in love with music in all its forms.  You could say that Mr. Hardy actually found his way to formal music training with a bribe:  after teaching himself how to play the piano and read music for several months, he finally agreed to take lessons in exchange for a real piano.  The following year Mr. Hardy enrolled in the middle school band on Alto Saxophone and immediately discovered the medium to which he would dedicate his musical life, that of the symphonic concert band.  It was also during this time in middle school that he became interested in composing for the medium, writing his first piece for concert band in 1996 and conducted its performance at the spring band concert.

Mr. Hardy has maintained an interest in composition ever since and has been commissioned to provide arrangements for various theater groups, choral groups, as well as middle and high school bands throughout North Carolina.  He was the 2007 Guest Clinician for the Pitt County All-County Middle School Band and was commissioned to write a piece, Variations on a Civil War Song, for the clinic.  In 2004 he wrote and conducted Centennial Fantasy to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the University of North Carolina Band Program, of which Mr. Hardy was a student at the time.  Recently, Mr. Hardy has become interested in creating new editions of the older literature for symphonic bands, creating full scores and adjusting the orchestration to reflect modern compositional practices in writing for winds and percussion.

Some of the great opportunities in Mr. Hardy’s career were the chance to participate in the 2004 Cours Internationale de la Musique - a chamber music workshop that took place in Morges, Switzerland and also the opportunity to take part in a conducting masterclass with Maestro Leonard Slatkin of the National Symphony Orchestra in 2005.  In 2010, another great opportunity presented itself when he was selected to become the next conductor of The Raleigh Concert Band.  The chance to watch an extremely talented group of volunteer community musicians grow in size and musical maturity has been a truly rewarding part of Mr. Hardy’s musical life.

Born in South River, North Carolina in 1983, Mr. Hardy attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill were he received a Bachelor’s of Music in Saxophone Performance with a concentration in Music Eduction as well as a Master of the Arts in Teaching with music emphasis.  Outside of music, Mr. Hardy has a great interest in the restoration of classic farm tractors and to-date has restored a 1949 Leader and 1953 Ford Jubilee.  Before attending college, Mr. Hardy held the position of pianist at Edwards Chapel Free-Will Baptist church from 1995-2001, the same position held by his Great Grandmother many years before.  His musical philosophy is heavily based on the words of composer Bruce Adolphe who wrote, “we do not become musicians because we have something to prove, we become musicians because we have something to give.”

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