Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Earl Benge Volunteer of the Year: Wilbur Smith

At the Saturday night banquet of the 2012 reunion of the Navy Musicians Association, the Earl Benge Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Wilbur Smith.

As regular attendees know, the NMA Concert Band's is crucial to the success of a reunion. With only handful of rehearsals, Wilbur manages, every year, to turn a collection of professional musicians, part-timers, teachers and amateur enthusiasts into a group whose Friday night concert excites an audience that expects the best: the Navy Musicians Association family.

Any graduate of the Assistant Bandleaders Course knows that preparation is the key to productive rehearsal. Months before we sit in a hotel ballroom listening to the tuning Bb at that first Wednesday rehearsal, Wilbur has been at work.

His through preparation would be eason enough to hand Smitty an award, but Wilbur juggles a number of other year-round NMA duties. His work with the O.L. McMillan Scholarship helps selected young musicians with their tuition. His supervision of our Travel Fund provides financial help to selected members who, without that help, might not be able to join us.

Prior winners of the Earl Benge Award have found the trophy to be a striking addition to den or study. Wilbur may discover that its weight and size also make it an efficient paperweight when concert band scores, scholarship applications and NMA correspondence become overwhelming.

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