STERLING – The new director of the Sterling Municipal Band should look familiar to fans who have attended its concerts through the years.
The Band Commission has promoted Annette Hackbarth, appointed interim director in November.
Hackbarth, a 1988 Rock Falls High graduate, has played trumpet for the band since 1991.
“Now I get a different perspective,” Hackbarth said.
Hackbarth was chosen as director from a group of 12 applicants that was whittled down to three finalists, said Gonzolo Reyes, commission chairman.
“Each of the finalists had a chance to conduct the band and the band had input into the selection,” Reyes said. “She has the high regard of the membership, and we’re excited about her leading our band. It was a unanimous decision.”
Hackbarth is equally excited about her new role and already has some ideas for how to amp up the energy at the free weekly Wednesday concerts in Grandon Civic Center that begin June 5.
“I want to put some themes on some of the open nights to give people something to look forward to with each concert,” she said.
A few of those themes will include a kids’ concert in July, another night will feature the music of composer John Williams and his many musical contributions to several blockbuster movies. Hackbarth also is planning a military veterans appreciation night in June.
“That’s going to be a special night for the people in the community. We want to celebrate their service, and what better way than to use music to celebrate?”
The idea is to make a connection with the audience, to have people go home singing the music and remembering it the next day.
“We hope that excites them and builds a consistent following. We still will play great music, but we want to be entertaining as well so the community is happy,” Hackbarth said.
Hackbarth has a Bachelor’s of Music degree from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb and is the director of bands for the Dakota School District, where for 25 years she has taught instrumental music for grade school through high school students.