Festive fun from UABSON musicians

By Amanda E.H. Pritchard

Sharing the joy of music is the perfect present this holiday season and many University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing faculty, staff and alumni, are spreading that joy as members of the Crestwood Community Band. Made up of 45 musicians from various parts of the greater Birmingham area, the band provides a creative outlet for everyone who enjoys playing in a band.Sherrie Hafley with her partner Stacey Gordon

Alumna and Clinical Simulation Technology Coordinator Sherrie Hafley, MSN, RN, CHSOS (MSN 2022), co-founded the Crestwood Community Band with her partner, Stacey Gordon in 2015. Hafley plays the French horn.

“I had experience playing in high school and occasionally with an adult marching band style group in Atlanta, but I had not played with a formal group for over 30 years,” Hafley said. “I acquired several instruments over the years with the intent of playing again, so after we moved to Birmingham, I decided it was time to get my chops back in shape. It had been so long since I played that I was not prepared to audition for any of the groups in Birmingham, but I was not motivated to practice on my own. Stacey sent an email to the neighborhood asking if anyone would want to practice with me. The response was unbelievable. There were so many people in the same situation that I was in. We met with the ones interested in December of 2014 to discuss music and location and we had our first practice January 2015 at the Community Education South, Comer School in the Crestwood neighborhood.”

“I’m not a musician,” Gordon said. “Sometimes the band would get together and only have three or four people. They didn’t have a drummer and needed someone to keep time, so they bought me a cowbell and it all got started from there.”

Since those early days, the Crestwood Community Band expanded its members because of their love of making music. Hafley and Gordon share a common vision that CCB exists to make the spirits of its band members and their audiences bright.

Lynn Nichols playing the clarinet

Not only is the Crestwood Community Band dear to Hafley’s heart, it also plays a vital role in her colleague’s lives as well. Five UABSON faculty and staff, four of whom are also alumni, are a part of the band.

Associate Professor, Assistant Dean for Clinical Simulation and Training, and Interim Associate Dean for Technology and Innovation Penni Watts, PhD, RN, CHSE-A, FSSH, FAAN (PhD 2015), plays clarinet.

Alumna, Adjunct Associate Professor and Archives Coordinator Lynn Nichols, PhD, RN (BSN 1989, MSN 1993, PhD 2000), also plays the clarinet.

“My favorite thing about the Christmas performance was creating a fun holiday musical experience for the community. During our performance, I saw a young preschooler dancing and it made me happy to see how much he enjoyed the music,” Nichols said. “I stopped playing after high school to focus on nursing courses. After playing at a recent high school band reunion, I wanted to continue playing. I mentioned that to Sherrie Hafley one day in the simulation lab, and she said, ‘Well, I have a band...want to join?’ The next day, she brought me a stack of sheet music and I joined CCB.”

Instructor and Co-Director of the AMNP Pathway Michael Mosley, DNP, CRNP, ANP-BC (MSN 2012), plays percussion and John Huffstutler, Project Manager II in the Office of Technology and Innovation, plays the trombone.Penni Watts playing the clarinet

“Although it has been years since I’ve played percussion, having been invited to join the Crestwood Community Band has been a great reminder that life exists outside work, and the band is all about giving a fun experience,” Mosley said. “Sherrie Hafley has really done an excellent service to the community getting this off and running.”

The Crestwood Community Band recently hosted a Christmas Concert at Cahaba Brewing Company in the Avondale suburb of Birmingham. Traditional, jazz and swing tunes filled the air throughout the venue.

“Christmas Festival and Sleigh Ride are my favorites to play because of the fast clarinet parts,” Watts said. “I discovered my love for the clarinet in the fourth grade.”

CCB, much like the UABSON, encourages transformation and innovation for all who encounter each experience.

“My favorite part of being involved with the CCB is in helping to create these types of memories along with knowing how much both our members and our audiences really appreciate the musical community we continue to build,” Gordon said.

“My favorite part is hearing stories of how the band has changed lives by giving individuals an outlet for a passion they left behind a long time ago,” Hafley said.

Photo of Crestwood Community Band

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