Enjoy all your local news and sports for less than 6¢ per day.

Subscribe Now

JOIN THE CLUB: The music and mission of the Hill Country Community Band

Hill Country Community Band Director Bo Boshears

Hill Country Community Band Director Bo Boshears leads the 30-plus piece ensemble in a rehearsal of 'The Cowboys' at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Marble Falls. The band gets together every Thursday night to practice. Staff photos by Dakota Morrissiey

Every Thursday night, around 30 solo musicians gather at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church on RR 1431 in Marble Falls and synchronize their sounds to become the Hill Country Community Band. For the past 32 years, the ensemble has been a refuge and an artistic outlet for the musically inclined of the Highland Lakes.

It started with a few interested residents in 1991 practicing their instruments in Burnet schools. It has since grown into a 38-piece band under the direction of Bo Boshears, who taps into his decades of music experience to lead practices and performances that contribute to a purposeful community for its members.

“I love the camaraderie and just getting around people who like to play,” the band leader said. 

Boshears is a former U.S. Marine Corps band officer and trumpeter who has been with the Hill Country Community Band since 1997. He served a stint as the director from 2017-21, took a short break, then came back in 2022. He’s been leading the charge ever since.

On paper, the Hill Country Community Band is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization made up of musicians from across the Highland Lakes that rehearses weekly and plays concerts a few times a year. For its members, it’s much more than that.

Michele Kesler (left) and Carol Jones
Michele Kesler (left) and Carol Jones play clarinet in the band and also serve the organization as treasurer and secretary, respectively.

“There’s just something about sitting in a group of instrumentalists who play music together and put smiles on people’s faces,” clarinetist Michele Kesler said. “Music to me is an emotional language. It’s something that people universally — even if we can’t communicate in our own dialect or language — can understand. Music is something that really mends it all together.”

Kesler played the clarinet throughout grade school but took a long hiatus before picking it up again with the community band. She assured anyone thinking of joining to put aside worries about how rusty they might be and just take the leap.  

“Things come back a lot quicker than you think,” she said.

The band has an arsenal of brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments. Saxophones, flutes, oboes, cornets, French horns, trombones, euphoniums, clarinets, and a keyboard show up at any given rehearsal, according to the band’s secretary, Carol Jones, who plays the clarinet. 

“I enjoy playing music, and I enjoy the friendships that have developed as being a part of the organization,” she said. “We are actually looking for performance opportunities.”

The Hill Country Community Band traditionally plays each spring at the Texas Community Music Festival in Austin. This year, it is scheduled to perform from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. April 20 at Central Market North, 4001 N. Lamar Blvd. Members also perform local patriotic shows on Memorial Day and Independence Day and hold Christmas concerts at the Marble Falls Public Library and assisted-living facilities across the Highland Lakes.

Some members, like Kesler and Jones, are brushing up on their lifelong passion for music, while others are retired professional band directors with decades of experience. Ages span the years. Jones said there is even a high school student who has been recently playing with them.

Director Boshears gave a little insight into the band’s current playlist. Members have been working on Leonard Bernstein’s compositions from the play “West Side Story. Their repertoire includes show tunes, military marches, and classics like “The Stars and Stripes Forever” and “The Cowboys Overture” by John Williams.

Joe Mantheiy
Joe Mantheiy plays his trumpet alongside seven other trumpeters during a rehearsal of music from Leonard Bernstein’s ‘Westside Story.’ Mantheiy has been performing with the Hill Country Community Band for 23 years and has played the trumpet for over 50 years.

Boshears’ personal musical journey began in the fourth grade when his best friend at the time raised his hand to play the trumpet in class. Boshears’ hand shot up immediately after. That fated hand-raising led to a lifetime of music, which carried him through school and his service with the Marine Corps.

“I’ve been playing trumpet for 62 years now,” he said.

As a director, it’s Boshears’ job to guide rehearsals and coordinate performances, which is pretty straightforward for the former Marine officer.

“I program the music, I rehearse the bands, and that’s basically it,” he said. “What we’re looking for is a blend. We’ve got the music out, I’ve got the score for all the parts, whether it’s the first trumpet or the third clarinet. I’ve been in music all my life, so I just know what’s going on.”

It can be challenging to wrangle over 30 band members, he said, but together they obviously make it work. Kesler is one of six clarinetists in the band and said she can feel her skills sharpening while playing regularly alongside her bandmates.

“We have fun, we laugh, and we work hard,” she said. “I’m almost back to where I was in high school.”

Secretary Jones shared the group’s written history with The Picayune Magazine, including its eight documented shifts in rehearsal locations since 1991, its seven different directors in that time, and its mission statement, which reads:

“To provide a relaxed, welcoming environment where musician members can unite in their common love of music. The diverse, all-volunteer organization provides the setting for the life-long performance of music while challenging each member’s musicianship.”

The Hill Country Community Band is open to new members and meets from 7-8:30 p.m. every Thursday at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, 1803 RR 1431 in Marble Falls. Email for more information on how to join.