Local music teacher brings his band to Estacada

The 204th Army Band, United Stated Army Reserve, goes where the mission takes them. Typically, that's around the country, where they'll perform in venues too far for family and friends to attend.

But the Vancouver, Wash., based band will finally be close to home when they perform a patriotic and holiday themed concert at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, at the Estacada School District Auditorium, 500 N.E. Main St., Estacada.

“We perform in places far from friends and family, and we enjoy that,” said Chief Warrant Officer Robert Nicholas, who directs the band and is a resident of Portland. “But we also enjoy playing closer to home and to entertain a local audience.”

The 204th Army Band, part of the 88th Regional Support Command, is comprised of 45 musicians, including Spc. Craig Bunch, who plays the clarinet and is a music teacher in Clackamas River and Eagle Creek elementary schools.

“I'm looking forward to performing with and conducting the 204th Army Band for my students and the community of Estacada,” said Bunch, who is offering extra credit to his students if they attend. “It's extra special for me to come back to Estacada because I grew up here. I have a lot of friends and family here, so bringing the band here is exciting.”

In the past, the band, which has a lineage that can be traced back to World War II, has held concerts on the outskirts of Portland, so Bunch thought of bringing the group to his home town and provided Estacada with a rare musical performance.

Meanwhile, the band is excited about its own rare opportunity to perform inside an auditorium.

“It's an honor to be invited to the beautiful Estacada Auditorium to perform this winter,” Nicholas said. “With the hectic performance schedule that we maintain supporting community events, military events and parades, it's rare that we get the opportunity to utilize such an outstanding facility.

“Estacada is a very nice community with a beautiful performing arts facility,” he added.

The band will perform traditional concert band music, as well as holiday and patriotic selections.

“It's not often we get the chance to put on a formal concert,” Nicholas said. “It should be a good show.”

The summer months usually keep the band far from Vancouver. It performs regularly throughout the Pacific Northwest and has recently held shows in South Carolina, North Carolina, St. Louis, Chicago and Fairbanks, Alaska.

But the winter provides a chance to perform closer to home. And the band hopes that the concert's location will attract a local crowd, as well as people from the Portland area.

“We're looking forward to a good performance that the community will enjoy,” Nicholas said.

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