By Sandy Townsend

As we near the celebration of the birth of our nation, the Eastern Hillsborough Community Band (EHCB) has several additional reasons to celebrate.

“We’re getting ready to perform our fourth-annual patriotic concert in the Brandon area, and we’ve reached close to 50 members in the short time we’ve been in existence,” said Tom Nelson, president of EHCB. “It’s been an honor and pleasure to perform in this community for the past four years.”

The community is invited to attend EHCB’s annual patriotic concert, Patriotic Times, Thursday, June 27, at 7 p.m. in the chapel (Logan Hall) at First United Methodist Church, 115 N. Knights Ave., Brandon. The concert is a $5 donation at the door and reservations are not required.

The band will perform God Bless America, Battle Hymn of the Republic, Victory at Sea and other patriotic favorites.

As co-founder, Kim McKamey McCullers looks back at the last four years, she’s amazed at the band’s success.

“When we started the band in 2009, we had fewer than 10 members,” said McCullers. “I remember standing in front of the band and saying that someday, I hope we reach 50 members. Well, here we are at 50-plus members,” she said. “We have a sizable band, and we sound great. I hope we continue to grow.”

The band performs about a dozen concerts a year at various locations in the Brandon and SouthShore communities. It has a Spring and Fall concert series and a special yearly patriotic performance. Its members range from amateurs to seasoned professionals from a variety of backgrounds. They play brass, woodwinds and percussion.

The band is conducted by Ken Watts and John Sinibaldi, who will conduct the patriotic concert. Watts is an accomplished musician with more than 40 years’ experience as a conductor and performer. He has a Master of Music with a dual concentration in Instrumental Conducting and Trumpet Performance from USF.

New members are welcome and can contact the band by visiting or by calling 569-1771. Membership is open to all residents of the Tampa Bay and nearby counties. The only requirements are that members have the ability to read music and have their own instrument and music stand.

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Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.