Laurie Pollard and her husband, Jerry, are new to Crossville.
They have been here less than a year — and Pollard has already found a place to play.
As with many musicians, Pollard began playing flute in grade school and continued throughout high school, where she performed in both the concert and marching bands. Her skills were so exceptional that in her senior year she won the John Phillip Sousa Award.
After high school, Pollard joined the community band at Southwest Michigan College, located in her hometown of Dowagiac, where she was also paid to play.
Next, she moved to Indiana and performed with the Valparaiso Community University Concert Band. During her 12 years there, she met John Phillip Sousa IV, who was attending a Sousa festival Concert as a guest speaker.
The Chicago Philharmonic has an outreach program geared toward involving community musicians, encouraging them to join in programs at local parks and buildings throughout Chicago. Pollard had the honor of playing side by side with The Chicago Philharmonic for four years. She has been playing flute for 39 years and is one of the newest members of the Cumberland County Community Band.
Pollard has dealt with many tragedies since high school. Her father, who loved hearing her play the flute, passed away when she was 18, due to complications of diabetes. Her daughter is a leukemia cancer survivor of 26 years and has been a diabetic equally long. Her illnesses came on at the very young age of 4. When her son was only 2, he had an emergency appendectomy.
An unknown illness took the life of Pollard’s mother who was 61 at the time; she had only been ill six weeks. Pollard played “In the Garden” at her funeral.
The aunt who had helped raise her when her father was in the hospital died at 60. A grandson required surgery at 1 day old. He is now 7 years old and is doing well.
Currently she and her husband are facing his Stage IV lung cancer; it began as a massive brain tumor.
Throughout it all, music has helped her through the difficult times. Pollard says music has been her “solace, (my) sanctuary and (my) center.”
She is a photographer and says that Tennessee “has become a wonderful place to explore my photographer side.”
The Cumberland County Community Band meets from 6-8 p.m. each Tuesday in the band room at Stone Memorial High School.
New members are welcome. Visit www.cccband.net for more information and a listing of upcoming concerts.