HISTORY OF THE MMB ORGANIZATION
The Melbourne Municipal Band of Melbourne, Florida has been a source of enjoyment to literally thousands of Brevard’s citizens since its inception on July 22, 1965. On that date, 16 musicians gathered in the Melbourne Tourist Center with A. V. “Chick” Catterton, a music loving Melbourne resident who had conceived of the idea of a city band. Three earlier attempts to formulate a municipal band had failed, but Catterton curried the favor of the city officials and was able to gain their full support. That support continues to this day.
The Band soon grew to 35 members and weekly rehearsals were held in preparation for a concert in the Municipal Auditorium (October 1965). Despite a severe thunderstorm, over 1,000 people braved the weather to come hear their new band. Congratulatory messages from such distinguished people as Colonel Albert Schoepper, Director, U. S. Marine Band, Merle Evans, Director, Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus Band, U. S. Senator Spessard Holland, Congressman Syd Herlong and many others were read to the audience. It was quite an auspicious beginning.
In 1985, Catterton retired and William A. Clark became the interim director. In 1987, Clair Christy, was selected to be Principal Conductor. Christy’s enthusiasm pushed the organization to excel and attract more than 80 members. Many accomplished musicians choose to retire here, in part, due to the band and its auxiliary groups. The MMB’s Swingtime Jazz is very popular. This “Big Band” puts on a dance nearly every month, and it serves as the main fundraising arm of the MMB organization. Swingtime Jazz Band plays at a variety of venues, from receptions and parties to dance halls.
Thanks to a large anonymous contribution and massive fund raising efforts led by our then President of the band, Julia D. Good, a large rehearsal hall was built in 1995. In 2007, the band chose to honor and memorialize Good by naming the rehearsal hall after her. It is now known as the Julia D. Good Rehearsal Hall.
Members of the Band perform in a highly professional manner without compensation and frequently travel, at their own expense, to events in which the organization participates. The band has played in many Central and South Florida cities for parades, dedications, Bicentennial events, NASA, Third Century America (Cape Canaveral), grand openings, ball games, benefit concerts for high school bands to procure uniforms, Municipal and Chamber of Commerce activities, senior citizen projects and HONOR AMERICA projects and events. Programs frequently include patriotic music, and nearly every concert opens with The Star Spangled Banner and closes with The Stars and Stripes Forever.
From that tiny group of 16 in 1965, the concert band has now grown to over 60 members, all volunteers, ranging in age from teens to seniors. Among them are educators, lawyers, architects, engineers, insurance executives, bankers, homemakers, professional men and women and a select group of students. They are motivated solely by a love of music, a desire to perform public service, and their wish to make a positive contribution to the community.
(Thanks to Marilyn Ferraris for providing much of the historical information found here.)