Murray Kidwell is the founder of the Cumberland County Community Band. He was a teacher for 26 years at the Martin Elementary School in Crossville, TN.
Murray graduated from Cumberland County High School and went on to active military service with the United States Air Force, Europe Band. Mr. Kidwell's primary instruments are the flute and piccolo. He also plays the string bass.
The Air Force Band performances took Murray to countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and to 48 of the United States. He performed concerts with the Berlin Philharmonic and the Paris Opera Orchestra. He also played at Westminister Abbey and at the Mozarteum in Saltzsburg. In addition to his Air Force Band work, he has also played in combos, dance bands and symphony orchestras. Mr Kidwell has a career of over 8,000 concerts in the military to his credit.
The community band was started in the summer of 2000 when Mr. Kidwell gathered a small group of local musicians. Later that fall, on November 7th rehearsals were begun and on December 10th at the Cumberland County High School Gymnasium the first concert was held with the Cumberland County High School Band. Mr. Kidwell continued to conduct the growing group of musicians until his retirement in the spring of 2008. Mr. Jack Bittle conducted two concerts in 2008. Mr. Lance Kennedy who is also the Vice Principal of the Stone Memorial High School conducted the band the remainder of 2008 and through July of 2010. Mr. Don Miller conducted one concert, then Mr. Murray Kidwell, with the assistance of Mr. Mike Chilcutt and Mr. Lance Kennedy, conducted the band until Mr. Brian Bacon took the podium in September of 2011. In October of 2015 our current conductor, Mr. Glen Belcher, had his first concert as conductor.
We are indebted to Murray Kidwell for his initiative in forming the community band. Without his foresight, musicians from our area would probably have no local organization in which to play and would be required to seek opportunities outside of the county.