New Maybrook Wind Ensemble Music Director/Conductor Roy Coates might not be where he is today without his grandfather.
Coates’ grandfather instilled the love of music in his sons and grandsons; he had a habit of taking his sons to concerts in Raleigh, North Carolina, Coates’ home state.
His grandfather was not the only music mentor he would have. He attended Boston University School of the Arts for a Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Education, where he was a student of the legendary Sam Pilafian. Pilafian introduced Coates to top musicians and got him started in New York City.
“He was just the greatest teacher on the planet for all his students,” Coates said.
His grandfather idealized to his grandson the Goldman Memorial Band in New York City as one of the greatest bands in the country. Years later, Coates would join the Goldman Band as a tuba soloist.
Coates auditioned and performed under conductor Ainslee Cox, who invited him to perform his solo.
“In my third year of the band he invited me to perform my solo piece that I had played for him at my audition,” Coates said. “I was one of the few tuba soloists who have ever played with the Goldman Band.”
Not only did his ten-year membership in the Goldman Band make his grandfather proud, it opened doors for him. Another tubist opened the door to the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, where he has performed, as well as the North Caroline Symphony.
He has performed on bass and tuba in two national touring companies of the Broadway shows Chicago, and Sugar Babies. He has also performed with the Federal City Brass Band and performed/recorded with Newberry’s Cornet Band and the Coates Brass Band, on period brass instruments and mouthpieces.
Coates is the current Commander and Conductor of the 89th Army Band New York Guard and has attained the rank of Captain after ten years of service. He has been awarded two Commander’s Citations. He has also been guest conductor of the 42 Infantry Division Band, New York Army National Guard, commanded by CW5 Mark Kimes, and has participated in their Annual Training concert tours of New York State.
Coates also plays bass guitar and strings, including a five-string banjo. He played banjo while on tour with the 42 Infantry Division Band.
“It was really interesting playing the five-string banjo in that situation,” Coates said.
Coates has a Master of Science degree in Music Education from Western Connecticut State University. He is a substitute teacher at Dover High School and teaches the Dover Guitar Club, which he created.
“It gives me great joy to see how music can have a positive influence on the students and how it can be a vocation for some of them, like it was for me,” Coates said.
He lives with his wife and teen-age children in Hopewell Junction.
Coates’ goals with the Maybrook Wind Ensemble are to improve the level of the band’s repertoire and increase the number of musicians.
On Friday, May 17, Coates will make his debut in a rousing patriotic tribute.
The selection includes a sing-along to Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America,” and an instrumental “Medley to World War I,” composed by Jari Villanueva, who is a member of the U.S. Air Force Band, Washington, DC.
Villanueva’s band arrangements have been widely performed in military ceremonies and films, and his selection “Goin’ Home”—which will be played at this performance—was performed most recently at the funeral of President Bush.
The Maybrook Wind Ensemble will also perform a mystery piece that residents of the Hudson Valley will recognize by the end of the fourth movement.
Admission is free, but donations will be gladly accepted. The performance will be held on May 17 at 7:30 p.m. in the Maybrook Senior Center located in Veteran’s Memorial Park, Schipps Lane.