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Alpharetta City Band selects new conductor

Nicole Fallin to succeed late director

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ALPHARETTA, Ga.  The Alpharetta City Band has named Nicole Fallin, a former middle school, high school and college music instructor, as its new conductor.

Fallin, a U.S. Army veteran, performed in the 3rd Infantry Division Band in Würzburg, Germany, the 9th Infantry Division Band in Fairbanks, Alaska, and was first sergeant and enlisted band leader of the Fort Gordon Army Band in Augusta. At the Armed Forces School of Music in Norfolk, she was a trumpet instructor and brass branch supervisor.

She succeeds Bill Haynes, who died recently. He had led the band for 17 years.

Don Nahser, the band’s founder and program supervisor, said the search for a new director was conducted by soliciting suggestions from band members.

“We did we set up sort of an audition,” he said. “We had three who had indicated they were willing to do it and who came highly recommended.”

Each applicant was set it up with the same music, about eight pieces.

“We set it up so that they go through most of it in a single rehearsal,” Nahser said. “It was a variety of different types of music so, we could see how they react to different genres.

“They all fared quite well in the auditions. It just got down to who was first choice with the people involved in the selection process.”

It was a tough choice, he said.

“Frankly, I was kind of embarrassed because they were all so highly qualified I knew it was going to be a tough decision to make,” he said.

“But, the majority opinion was she was the one who seemed to work best into the needs of the band.”

Credential-wise she possesses a doctorate from the University of Georgia. All three candidates had at least a master’s degree, and all were experienced band directors.

One of the key characteristics had nothing to do with academics.

The committee was looking for someone with the kind of patience Haynes displayed during his tenure, his ability to get the best out of each performer, regardless of their experience, Nahser said.

“It was a requirement that they have patience,” he said. “This is an amateur group, but there are a lot of people in it who are professional musicians and we go down to high school students. We have members who started playing with the band after not having played for 20 years.”

Nahser said band members appreciated Haynes’ leadership skills and her ability to adapt to each musician’s skill set.

“She had perfect pitch,” he said. “If something didn’t sound right with our instrumentation, she could suggest minor changes in the arrangement to make it fit us. She had a phenomenal memory for music.

“Sometimes we had a piece of music where we couldn’t find the score. She made a third clarinet part and conduct the rehearsal from that. She just knew so much music and so much about music that she could handle any situation.”

Nahser said all of these traits bubbled in the background . All these leads Nahser to think Fallin will be a worthy successor.

To learn more about the Alpharetta City Band or attend a rehearsal, contact Don Nahser at donnahser@aol.com, or visit the group’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AlpharettaCityBand.


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