Back in 1972, McKinney Community Band’s co-founders—Bill
Sleeper (now the director) and Ed Schwarz, percussionist—first became acquainted in a Dallas area community band. Ed
moved to McKinney in the 90’s and met a new friend, Lisa Miller, who worked with the McKinney Performing Arts Center
and also had done some sound engineering with the Richardson Community Band.
Lisa told Ed that McKinney needed a band. Ed agreed and discussed it with
Bill. Soon Ed and Bill found themselves in Mayor Whitfield’s office, with Ed, a retired aerospace engineer, ready to
make a persuasive argument in favor of the band. To their surprise, and before Ed uttered a word of his persuasive argument,
the mayor said, “I know why you’re here, and I think it’s a great idea!”
Bill arranged interviews and pictures with the McKinney
Courier-Gazette and The Dallas Morning News. Both were extremely supportive and offered a large space in their respective
papers—essentially free advertising.
Mr. David Taylor of the McKinney Performing Arts Center asked Ed and Bill about playing for the Ice Cream Crank-off in downtown
McKinney. The band men agreed, despite not yet having musicians or music. That faith in the community paid off with a delightful
concert for the crowd and even a broadcast interview of several of the players. The music itself was heard on KNTU.
And that was the beginning. Since
then, we have grown in numbers, music ability, friendliness and fun. The future is bright indeed for the arts community in
McKinney and the MCB in particular.