“It seems like a lifetime ago,” said Richard C. Meehan, Jr., the band ‘s first president, “when a small group of misplaced band musicians sat down for the founder’s meeting of what became the Spartanburg Community Band. The place was Papa Sam’s Breakfast Nook on East Saint John’s Street. That was in the summer of 1995. We all wanted a venue in which amateurs to professionals, young to seasoned, could be comfortable playing on a regular basis, something that would offer quality music to keep us challenged, and concerts for the general public. We were told by many that it was impossible, that it had been tried back in the 1950’s and failed, that Spartanburg would not support a community band. We ignored the doomsayers, made it happen through hard work. The case in point became the overwhelming first rehearsal on January 2, 1996. More than forty hungry musicians simply appeared out of thin air after reading an announcement in the Spartanburg Herald Journal that we were to have a new band.”
“We called ourselves the Ad Hoc Committee after that. Everyone we could think of was subjected to personal phone calls, mailings, and arm twistings to come join the SCB. Our first newsletter, The Definitive Ear, went to conductors, music teachers, politicians, friends, family, relatives, and some not so relative (or is it relevant?).” Since January of 1996, the SCB has continued to serve as Spartanburg’s only open symphonic band group, exactly what the founder’s dreamed.”
Those present at the first meeting were Jenni H. Thompson, Donna “D.J.” Prichard, Richard C. Meehan, Jr., Coleen Felty, David DeLucca, Kevin Hazen, Glen Plumley, and Marilyn Kimple. Others that joined the ad hoc committee by December of 1995 included Michael Miller, Charles Wethington, Melanie Glenn, Betty Fletcher, and Kyle Thompson.
The SCB became incorporated through the Secretary of State of South Carolina on August 27, 1996. This officially registered the band as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation known as Spartanburg Community Band, Inc. The articles were signed by Jenni H. Thompson, James R. Barnes, Charles A. Wethington, Greg K. Fuller, Donna “D.J.” Pritchard, Richard C. Meehan, Jr., Marilyn Graves Kimple, John Holloway, Kevin Hazen, and Thomas A. Fridy, III.
As with all non-profit organizations, the SCB had to produce a constitution to satisfy the laws of the State of South Carolina and the IRS.
A SPECIAL THANKS
Mr. Carl Fillmore McMath donated his personal band music library to the SCB in 2001 after retiring from the Spartanburg School District Seven band program. After graduating from the University of South Carolina in 1957, Carl taught band students from junior high to high school for many years alongside Mr. Jim Smith, Mr. Clarence Jones, and Mr. Richard Gibbs – a powerhouse team of mentors for musical success! Carl plays the trumpet, along with just about everything else. With a quiet style of directing, Carl gently but powerfully influenced the education of hundreds of band students during his career. Several of those players are members of the SCB today. All will say that Mr. Carl Fillmore McMath inspired them to continue the lifelong pleasure of symphonic band music performance! Father of Carol and Elizabeth, Carl currently lives in New Bern, North Carolina.
CARL FILLMORE MCMATH OBITUARY
Carl Fillmore McMath, 85, passed away on December 6, 2020, in New Bern, NC. He was a resident of Brookdale Senior Living for the past 3 years and had been living in New Bern for the last 12 years.
A graduate of the University of South Carolina and Appalachian State University, he spent the majority of his professional career teaching band in Spartanburg District 7 Schools from 1964-1987. He was the Associate Band Director of the Spartanburg High School Band and enjoyed teaching on the High School level, but found particular satisfaction working with Junior High bands in the latter part of his career. He taught band part-time during his retirement. Carl was an ASBDA (American School Band Directors Association) member and was inducted into the Band Director’s Hall of Fame. As a musician, he played both cornet and trumpet. Carl played with numerous ensembles, church orchestras, and groups during his working career and retirement. He also served as the Minister of Music at various churches in the Spartanburg, SC, area. Carl conducted for the last time in 2016 as a guest conductor for the Spartanburg Community Band’s 20th Anniversary concert. He was a US Marine Corps reservist and a First Presbyterian Church member in New Bern, NC. He is preceded in death by his first wife, Nina Moore McMath, and second wife Lois Evans. Survivors include 2 daughters, Elizabeth Sinderman (John) of Spartanburg, SC, and Carol McMath of Taylors, SC.