WESLEY CHAPEL — The Wesley Chapel Wind Ensemble started out as a small band with a bigger dream. In 2007 it was just a handful of musicians practicing in a meeting room at a car dealership.
An open-door policy along with a mission statement to help foster the local arts has helped add to the numbers along with a bigger place to rehearse in the band room at Weightman Middle School.
"The last concert we had 40 people on the stage," said founding member Glenn Weatherly. "This is a real community band. We have musicians ranging in age from a 14 to 86."
"We're getting some really, really good players," said director, June Hammond, who is also a professor of music at Saint Leo University. "We're adding oboes. We have two bassoons, French horns and violins."
The band has done its part to spread the word and the music, putting on concerts at a variety of local venues. Among them: the 2013 Taste of Pasco event in Land O'Lakes, tree lighting ceremonies at Florida Hospital in Zephyrhills and a holiday concert at the Glazer Children's Museum in Tampa.
This weekend the Wesley Chapel Wind Ensemble will once again venture out, joining with the Cypress Creek Dixieland Band and local singers for "All for the Arts," a two-day musical event to benefit the Masque Theatre in Temple Terrace.
"It's a meeting of the minds," Weatherly said, noting that his two daughters have performed with the theater troupe. "They're a nonprofit, we're a nonprofit, so it makes sense for us to pool resources."
"We're just helping out and that's what we do," said clarinet player Robin Jodoi, who also leads the Cypress Creek Dixieland Band. That smaller musical group has performed at benefits for Relay for Life and the Suncoast Arts Fest in Wesley Chapel, Concert for the Cure in Land O'Lakes and Arts in the Park in Carrollwood.
"We're community musicians so we play mostly for free. But somebody motivated us way back when and we want to keep that going," Jodoi added.
Proceeds from All for the Arts will support upcoming productions at Masque, including a summer youth offering of The Music Man.
"It will help pay for royalty fees, directing service and costume rentals, said Ruth Kegel, president and director of youth summer programs at Masque.
Past productions have included Bus Stop, The Importance of Being Ernest, Footloose, Once Upon A Mattress and Fiddler on the Roof, said Kegel, who also serves as sponsor for Thespian Troupe 2217 at King High School in Tampa.
The Friday night concert will feature the Cypress Creek Dixie Land Band as headliner. Those who go can expect a "toe-tapping good time," Jodoi said.
Members of the Wesley Chapel Wind Ensemble have been rehearsing some challenging pieces for their stint on Saturday night, including a piece appropriately called Masque, by American composer W. Francis McBeth. There will also be a nod to The Music Man with Seventy Six Trombones, among others.
Kegel is planning an intimate coffee house setting for both nights, with a variety of soloists and other musical performances interspersed between band sets.
"It's going to be fun — like cabaret," Kegel said. "We'll have everything from acoustic guitar to Beatles numbers to show tunes.