May 31, 2017

Allen lands Prairie Meadows grant for band

GET TO KNOW: Organizations like the Greater Des Moines Community Band don't function without great people behind the scenes. We would like to feature those unsung heroes. This is the first of what we hope becomes many opportunities to showcase those individuals.

Kari Allen - Tuba. Kari recently secured a grant for the group from Prairie Meadows. Thank you Kari for your work behind the scenes. You rock!

Thank you for the kind words and allowing me to be featured; this goes against my true character. I prefer to be heard and not seen. I do what I do for the band’s benefit, not mine. The band maybe is lucky to have me, but I guarantee I’m luckier to have the band.

I grew up on a farm southwest of Perry where I still live today. Music wasn’t much a part of my younger years. My grandfather played saxophone and because he was my hero, I wanted to play saxophone, too. My saxophone days were short lived when I heard the sound of the French horn for the first time. After a brief conversation with my amazing high school band director, my life went to the brass section.

As my interest for music increased, so did my desire to learn new instruments, hence, that’s why I play tuba today. I just knew I wanted to be a band director someday. As my career path turned directions away from music education, I turned toward the conservation, park and recreation life. I have worked for the City of Johnston the past 12 years. When I’m not mowing grass, I enjoy bike riding, photography, traveling, spending time with family and friends, and working on my family farm. 

My hometown community band only plays during June. I began to miss playing the rest of the year. I remember looking through the Iowa State Fair schedule. I came across the Greater Des Moines Community Band as entertainment on one of the stages. I remember saying, “I really need to circle this and make sure I go see them.” I circled it and for the next three years I faithfully sat in the audience and wished I had enough courage to ask how I could be part of such a wonderful band. Finally with the encouragement of my family, I mustered up enough courage to ask. I am so happy I did.

To pick a favorite part of the Greater Des Moines Community Band would be nearly impossible. Playing in a community band is a unique experience. We all share a common passion and that is the love of music and playing. I walked in to the first rehearsal not knowing a single person and left feeling like a part of a family. Band not only provides me with stress relief, but also it has helped create and nurture some really great friendships.
Working for government agencies for almost 20 years, grant writing is a major funding source for us. The Prairie Meadows grant is one that we have used before, and I couldn’t see why it would apply to the band.  As I began researching the grant, it became apparent we were a perfect fit. 

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