Band director hits notes with local orchestra

Published 10:36 am Wednesday, February 4, 2009

ROME TOWNSHIP — Most days, it’s Keith Carper who is calling the tune as he leads the marching and concert band students at Fairland Middle and High School through their paces.

But every so often it’s Carper who changes places and becomes one of the gang in the ensemble of performing music. That’s when Carper takes his place in the trumpet section of the Huntington Symphony Orchestra.

That will happen again this Saturday when the HSO has its February concert at the Keith Albee Performing Arts Center.

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“It is fun to get and sit and play the music,” Carper said. “When you’re teaching, you are conducting for other people to play. There’s a difference.

Originally from Lincoln County, W.Va., Carper started studying the trumpet in sixth grade.

“I went to a beginning band meeting and the trumpet was the one instrument that I could make the most noise with,” he said.

Those studies led him to Marshall University where he finished his music degree. At that time he was a substitute in the trumpet section of the Huntington Symphony. When there was an opening, he was asked to become a member.

Saturday’s concert will offer a program of Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Liszt.

“It provides an outlet for people who like to play that kind of literature and for folks who want to hear it,” Carper said.

Usually before each concert the orchestra gets together for three rehearsals. That’s when conductor Kimo Furumoto flies in from California.

Playing in an orchestra takes teamwork and listening skills, the musician says.

“It is listening to the people around you, that you are playing with and to be able to accurately play,” Carper said.

Playing in an orchestra also helps out with Carper’s day job.

“I get to be around people who are professional on the instruments I am trying to teach,” he said. “I get to associate with those folks so if I have questions.”

For more information on Saturday’s concert or to reserve tickets, call (304) 525-0670 or check the Web site at