The Dexter Community Band was originally conceived in 1982 by Chris Wall, Director of Dexter's Community Education Programs. Dave Angus, a professor of education at the University of Michigan, was the conductor. The band included Milford Wolpoff, Nick Wagner, and Pat Wier on clarinet, Marian North, Karla Linkner, and Raynette Kempf on flute, Phyllis Risdon, Les Sapsford, and Mary Jane Trustdorf on trumpet, Pam McAllsiter on French Horn, and Linda Burby on percussion.
The beginning was modest, but through word of mouth and exposure at a few concerts, the band began to grow. By 1984 the band had nearly doubled in size and performed three or four concerts a year. It took another six years for the band to again double in size and have a fairly well rounded instrumentation. In 1998, William Gourley began conducting the band and brought it to the high level it is today. Now at the ripe old age of 35, the band has 85 (+) members and a full complement of instruments.
The band toured Europe extensively in the summer of 2001, performing concerts in Vienna, Zagreb, Venice, Verona, and Florence. More recently, the band toured Ireland in the summer of 2016 with concerts in Dublin, Killarney, and Galway.
The band rehearses on Thursday evenings and performs four concerts per season. As part of the band's community outreach mission, members form smaller ensembles and perform at senior centers throughout Washtenaw County during their Evening of Ensembles concerts in January and February.
The band is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and all the members are volunteers from the local area. The band is supported by dues paid by all its members as well as by the generous donations from many organizations and individuals. Details on how to contribute to the band can be found under the Support tab of our website.
William W. Gourley began his musical journey at five years old studying the accordion at his father’s conservatory in Indiana. He grew up in the music business teaching accordion, piano, trumpet, guitar and played trumpet in the school band program.
Bill received his Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Music Education from Michigan State University and enjoyed a successful career as the band director in Dundee, Michigan from 1976-81 and Chelsea, Michigan from 1981-2000. During his twenty-five years as a music educator he served on the conducting staff of the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, and founded and conducted the Southeastern Michigan Honors Band. Mr. Gourley served as a faculty member of the Conn-Selmer Institute and is in demand nationally as a clinician, adjudicator, guest conductor, and lecturer.
Mr. Gourley returned to the business of music in 2001 with the Marshall Music Company as an educational consultant and also served as the Director of School Services. He retired as Vice President/General Manager in 2013. His responsibilities included the oversight of sales and marketing, producing Marshall’s educational newsletter, mentoring music teachers, lecturing at universities, and presenting workshops. His articles have been published nationally, most notably in the Keynotes Magazine.
During his years as a band director he served as a district and state Executive Board member and Committee Chairman for the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association (MSBOA) and is a three-time recipient of the MSBOA District XII Outstanding Band Director Award. Mr. Gourley is a past chairman of the Michigan Chapter of the American School Band Directors’ Association and was awarded the Stanbury Award as Michigan’s Outstanding Young Band Director of the Year.
Mr. Gourley has been the conductor of the Dexter Community Band since 1998, leading their European tour in 2001. He also serves as the conductor of the Ann Arbor Civic Band which performs weekly concerts throughout the summer, assuming that position in 2002.
Interested in Joining the Band?
Contact Karla Linkner at 734.426.2734