FVCB News & Updates

New Band Schedule Upcoming Rehearsals (note: new location is Flathead High School)

  We invite you to visit the Flathead Valley Community Band Facebook page.

FVCB Facebook link

Band History

FVCB in Helena

The seed that ultimately blossomed into what is now the Flathead Valley Community Band was planted in 1969, by Dr. Larry Blake, President of the Flathead Valley Community College (who played baritone in his own right) and Richard Schlatter, Flathead High School band director, who had played trumpet with the US Air Force band. While at the Air Force Mr. Schlatter had an MOS (military occupational specialty) as an expert at the trumpet, the baritone, the French Horn and the tuba. He and Dr. Blake were good friends and Dr. Blake wanted to form a Pep band for the college. Dick Schlatter was offered the job and he accepted.

In June 1969, an ad was placed in the local paper for musicians to play in a community band. The response was good with a lot of talent in the valley being available. The band made its debut that summer at the Northwest Montana Fair, in Kalispell. In January 1970, the band prepared for its first concert, held on January 27th. Most of the performers were not students at the college but from the community.

Mr. Schlatter, who was involved in many other activities at the high school, asked Don Lawrence, then band director in Columbia Falls, if he would be willing to take over. Don agreed to do so and continued to direct the band over a period of 25 years.

On February 14, 1984, the Flathead Valley Community Band, Inc. was incorporated with the Secretary of State of Montana pursuant to the Montana Non-Profit Corporation Act. On November 18, 1988, the Articles of Incorporation were amended in order to secure a tax exempt staute with the Internal Revenue Service. On February 27, 1989 the Internal Revenue Service granted the band a tax exempt status.

In 1988, the FVCB was visited by the Trosdorf Maintaler Blaskapelle, a band visiting from Germany, with whom director Don Lawrence had established a long standing relationship. In 1990, the FVCB reciprocated by visiting the band in their native Germany.

In 1992, trumpeter John Laing, then director of bands at Kalispell Jr. High School, took over directorship from retiring Don Lawrence and directed the band until 2003. During his tenure, the band enjoyed many joint performances with the Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada Community Band.

From 2003 to 2010 the band was directed by Hank Handford. The baton was passed to Matthew King who served from the fall of 2010 to the summer of 2013.

The band continues today under the baton of Allen Slater, who assumed the directorship in the fall of 2013.music line

Band History from 1969 to 1998
A  history of the Flathead Valley Community Band was compiled in 1998 to cover the years from 1969 to 1998.  Click on the cover to view the PDF file (1.3 MB).

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instrument iconFactoid: The Charter Members of FVCB were: Carol Eliason, Torg Sorenson, Cora Gray, Lyndal Koller, Corliss Nikolaisen, Janell Williams, Jim Hilseth, Larra Thompson, Patti Potuzak, Marla Manning, Barbara Moen, Lois Pile, Gary Moen, Faye Covey, Don Newman, Paul Lykins, Judi Wagnild, Larry Blake, Don Lawrence, Dave Klehm, Donna Wendth, Larry Oursland, John Austad, Ron Schmidt, Mark Colbick, Randy Schumacher, Paul Lawrence, Ted Mickel, Sr., Ted Mickel, Jr., Darwyn Struck,Roberta Quick, John Sorenson, Ron Lyford, Rob Holston, Steve McClaren, Les Foy, Ken Kirkpatrick, Don Sabol, Laura Brown, Bill Oursland, Frank Sullivan, George Clarkeson, John Fredenberg, Barry Donahue, and Craig Happ.

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