This page gives us an opportunity to introduce one of our members “up close and personal”. Our featured player this month is Kim Newell, horn.
“I started my musical career as a fourth grade violinist,” explains Kim, “but I had the opportunity to switch to the family cornet when my brother’s middle school band director ‘volunteered’ him into playing the baritone horn. (And, yes, it was only a matter of time before he was playing tuba – a classic school band director trick.)
“I decided to quit the band in sixth grade. My middle school band director (a different one from earlier but equally manipulative) pulled me aside, checked out my mouth like he was inspecting a racehorse for good stock and declared that I had the bottom teeth of a French horn player, and thus began my 25+ year honeymoon with the horn.”
Kim took advantage of every opportunity to play while in high school. She attended the University of Michigan and studied with former member of the Chicago Symphony, Louis Stout. The next year brought lessons from the principal horn player with the Detroit Symphony, Eugene Wade and the decision to make music an avocation rather than a career.
“I discovered how lucky I was to have found the horn and how it was a natural fit for me,” says Kim. “I saw how much dedication and focus it would take to make horn performance a career. Discipline is not my forte. At Michigan, I met several horn players, like Beth Cook, currently 2nd horn in the Los Angeles Philharmonic. I came to the conclusion that I would not reach that level of playing.”
After graduating from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts in Music and Communication, Kim focused on her communication career and participated in several temporary musical ensembles – one of which caused her to be an hour late for the first rehearsal of the Montgomery County Concert Band in 1995.
“I remember walking up to the band room and thinking I was in the wrong place,” Kim says. “I was sure that what I was hearing was a practiced ensemble. The room was absolutely packed. It was obvious that there were a lot of great players in the Lansdale area who were hungry for a place to play.”
Kim’s membership in the Montgomery County Concert Band has lead to her participation in more than 30 musical pit orchestras, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra, a brass quintet, a woodwind quintet, and even her current job as the Assistant Public Relations Coordinator for the Colonial School District.
In addition to playing the horn, Kim also plays rope-tension field drum as an American Revolutionary War Re-enactor and is an award-winning visual artist who has served as president of the local fine art league.
“As an active member of the Montgomery County Concert Band, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra and North Penn Art Alliance, I feel like Lansdale’s cultural missing link,” adds Kim. “We have a lot of great opportunities to experience and create art and music in the Lansdale area, and I’m really lucky to be a part of it.”
Even though Kim feels that her middle school band director was feeding her a “line of bunk” in order to fill out the horn section, it all worked out in the end, and Kim truly values the experiences and friends that have come into her life through her involvement in music and the Montgomery County Concert Band.
Don Kline, personnel manager of the MCCB, says this about Kim: Kim has contributed as much to the band as the band has contributed to her. She is a fine player and enjoys life in spite of a very busy schedule. We are glad she has performs with the MCCB.