Sharon Titus vividly remembers the first time she got her clarinet out of the closet, where it had remained since she finished high school.
It was the first rehearsal of a new music group called the Sounds of Sawnee Community Band.
“I drug out my horn that I had in beginning band in the fifth grade,” Titus said. “I hadn’t played it since 1968 and we refurbished it and I played that horn and I was so excited that first night.”
She recalled there were also a few butterflies.
“I was so nervous that I couldn’t even play,” she said. “It’s like the notes are there, but your mouth doesn’t want to work with the fingers on the instrument.”
But after a couple of practices, she got back into the groove.
Twenty years later, Titus remains an active member of the Sawnee Community Band, which this month is celebrating its milestone anniversary.
The group’s first concert was in December 1993 after several community members came together for that first practice in August. Throughout the years, the group has continually grown and added to its annual performance schedule.
Some of the highlights of the band’s history include performing for the opening of Sharon Park, many shows at the Cumming Country Fair & Festival and an annual concert before the start of the Thomas-Mashburn Steam Engine Parade on July 4.
Sounds of Sawnee also was one of just six community bands from across the nation selected several years ago to perform in Washington, D.C., at the Jefferson Memorial.
The group is open to anyone who can play and attend weekly rehearsals at 7:30 p.m. Mondays in First Baptist Cumming, 1597 Sawnee Drive.
While many of the members hail from Forsyth County, the group is open to any musician in north Georgia. It has performed at events in Alpharetta, Dahlonega, Dawsonville and Gainesville.
Members range in age from middle school students to a few older than 90. Some are amateurs, while others have held professional musical careers.
Titus is one of three members who attended the group’s rehearsal and have stuck with it for the entire run. The others are Daphne Rice and Lynn Blalock.
Earlier this month, the three were honored with plaques in recognition of the continuous commitment to the group
Over the years, Titus said she has enjoyed every opportunity to play with the group, but a few are particularly special.
“Our first Celtic concert at the Cumming Playhouse, that was nice,” she said. “I really like Irish music and I enjoyed that night because it gave us a chance to play something a little different.
“[All the concerts] have been wonderful as far as I’m concerned, but the Christmas concerts at the playhouse are always fun. They kind of end the year on a, no pun intended, wonderful note.”
Titus doesn’t plan to give up playing with the group any time soon.
“I thought it was wonderful that I would get to play that horn again,” she said of that first rehearsal two decades ago.
“I’ve enjoyed all these 20 years enormously. You work all week and you’ve got stress, but you can go Monday night and be around friends and wonderful people … and you can laugh and joke around and just have a great time.”