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Connecting our community through music

Stanza by stanza, note by note, music has a way of soothing the soul. The beautiful sound of instruments is form of self-expression that evokes various forms of intense emotions. The Gates community now has the opportunity to enjoy the bliss that music brings with the return of the Gates Chili Central School Districts Community Band.


Christopher Oldfield is the director of the districts Community Band. Oldfield recognizes the benefits that community band has on the musicians that participate in the band. Band members are given the opportunity to advance their skills and interact with others who have varying levels of experience, while doing what they love.


“It’s an opportunity for people to get together and have fun,” said Oldfield. He added, “Some of them haven’t played in years and that’s fine. We are here to get people on their instruments and doing what they love to do.”


Along with giving musicians an opportunity to play their instruments, Community Band also brings musicians together. Oldfield believes that music creates a sense of community among musicians.


“There’s a bond between musicians, once you play in a band, it’s an experience you will always remember and, the connections people make playing music are unlike connections they might have doing something else,” said Oldfield.


Doug Gardner is a member of the Gates Chili Central School Districts Community Band. He believes that the band fosters a sense of community and gives musicians of varying experience levels the opportunity to connect and perform with each other.


“It creates a sense of community and teamwork. It’s definitely bringing folks together that maybe wouldn’t have had a reason to get together beforehand. This Community Band creates an opportunity for folks regardless of skill level or how long they have played or, haven’t played,” said Gardner.  


Along with fostering connections and providing opportunity, Director of Continuing Education Marla Chefalo believes that community band has a positive impact on participants’ mental health after being isolated during the pandemic.


“Interaction is especially important coming off of a time where interaction was limited due to COVID-19, I believe it is going to be beneficial to the mental health of the people who have joined us,” explained Chefalo.


Members are not required to live within the district. However, discounts are available to those who live within the Gates Chili Central School District. The band currently has 35 members and is welcoming new members with varying levels of experience, the only requirement is a love for music. For more information, or to sign up for Community Band, visit