Ready for their final number

LEFT: CLINT PETERSON HAS DIRECTED the Tracy Community Band since its inception in 1990 at the Tracy Area High School All-School Reunion.

By committee, members of the beloved Tracy Community Band have decided to disband after 30 years of bringing musical joy to the Tracy masses

By Per Peterson

In 1990, Clint Peterson was asked to “strike up a band” for the Tracy Area High School All-School Reunion.

The rest is harmonious history.

That band — made up of alumni who love to make music under Peterson’s direction — became known as the Tracy Community Band and has entertained thousands at events and parades year after year. This Box Car Days, however, the group will play its final number, as it will disband.

“My boys, said, ‘Dad, when it’s time, you need to step away,” Peterson said, referring to his sons, Mark and David. “I feel that after 30 years, it’s time to step aside. The band is mostly all volunteer hours, and for me it’s been a lot of volunteer hours — selecting music, doing things ahead of time — and it’s gotten to the point where I just don’t have the oomph that I once had.”

Earlier this month, the 88-year-old Tracy baton-whirling, musical icon gathered his most long-tenured musicians and told them he thought it was time to step down. Always looking out for his band members, Peterson asked them for their thoughts.

“Cleone (Richardson) had told me that if I stepped down she was not going to continue,” said Peterson. “The rest of them said, ‘Our loyalty has been with you and we do not choose to seek out another director.’ That made me feel kind of funny, but it made me feel good, too.”

Peterson said he left the door open for the band to seek out someone to replace him, but no one wanted to go that route.

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.