The Ahwatukee Foothills Concert Band played a stunning show to celebrate the group’s 20th anniversary on Thursday.
But there was one special guest who was unable to attend.
The band’s founder, Crawford McClue, who turns 100 this year, was not in attendance for the show after he went into a coma in the days leading up to it. He was in intensive care as of Wednesday, his son said.
The band played in tribute to McClue at the anniversary show, which took place at the Ahwatukee Recreation Center.
“The concert is not just about music but also what the band is all about,” director Brendan Anderson said. “We have a great personality and a lot of it has to do with Crawford.”
Many of the members have been with the band for years and have developed a personal relationship with McClue.
“We always stop and talk and he is the most delightful man,” said Craig Erwin, librarian and trombone player for the group. “He enjoys the fact he started this group and has seen it thrive. He is a joy to talk to and has a wealth of experience.”
Anderson said the band had a high of 80 members in the middle of the year.
They will play one additional concert for the Fourth of July in Prescott before their season is over.
At the anniversary concert on Thursday, three Kyrene Middle School students who were awarded scholarships by the group were recognized.
Three students are chosen each year to receive up to $200 to further their interest in music.
“The point of the award is to continue their interest in music whether it be for a music camp or a new instrument or private lesson,” Anderson said.
Erwin, 65, and president and trumpet player John Hobbs, 71, both recognized the group for rekindling their interest in music.
They had both given up playing for awhile and once they started, they were hooked.
“I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” Hobbs, who has been with the band for 18 years, said. “As long as my lips keep working, I will continue to play.”
The end-of-the-year concert is scheduled at the ARC, 5001 E. Cheyenne Drive, and played in conjunction to celebrate McClue’s birthday on July 8.
“He’s an amazing guy,” Hobbs said.
“He’s an extremely unique man and I don’t think I’ve met anyone like him,” Anderson added.
To find out more about the Ahwatukee Foothills Concert Band, visit www.AFCBand.org.