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Tennis anyone?

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Sandra Weikel is just as comfortable with a tennis racket in her hands as she is with a French horn or a trumpet. (Timothy P. Howsare Photo)

A tennis racket, a French horn and a trumpet — but not necessarily in that order.

These are the three things you often will find in the hands of Roswell resident Sandra Weikel.

As a music teacher, it wouldn’t be unusual to see a band instrument of some sort in her hands. Weikel was band director at Mesa, Berrendo and Sierra middle schools in that order. She also helped out at the two high schools as an assistant director.

But it wasn’t until she retired from teaching in 2012 that she started embracing a tennis racket.

“I’ve loved tennis all my life but never had time to play until I retired,” she said. “I started taking lessons and now I’m the president of the Roswell Tennis Association.”

The association puts on four tournaments a year, along with a “flex league” where players can sign up for matches at times that are convenient for them instead of following a stricter league schedule.

“It’s pretty informal and there are prizes for the winners,” she said of the flex league.

Weikel said that in Roswell, tennis players can hit the courts year round.

“Some of the older guys come out when it’s 20 degrees,” she said. “We have one man who is 90 years old.”

Weikel said that according to many experts, tennis is one of the best “all around” sports.

“It’s good for cardio and mental health because you have to strategize to beat your opponent,” she said.

Along with all of those benefits, she said, it’s great for increasing strength and improving balance.

For the past three years, she has played tennis in the Senior Olympics, which recently held the state summer games in Albuquerque.

Weikel was born in Hamilton, Ohio, which is a suburb of Cincinnati. She received a bachelor’s of music education from the University of Louisville, which is right across the Ohio River from the Hoosier state, where basketball is close to godliness.

“The University of Louisville is a big basketball school,” she quipped.

She taught school in South Dakota for three years before moving to Roswell in 1983 with her then-husband, who was a traffic controller. She taught music in the Roswell schools for 25 years.

For the past 10 years, she has been the co-director of the Roswell Community Band. The other co-director is Kevin Everitt.

There are around 40 people in the band from all different age groups and levels of experience.

“Even if someone is rusty, we still encourage them to join,” she said. “We will help them.”

Her main instrument is French horn, but she also plays trumpet in the Pecos Valley Jazz Band. The jazz group plays at nursing homes and performed this weekend at the Old Lincoln Days.

So why is it important to have a community band? Here is Weikel’s answer: “It’s extremely important for musicians to have a venue for performing,” she said. “If you are a musician, you are a musician for life. A lot of people drop out and don’t play for years. The community band gives them a chance to retrieve their skills and have fun and fellowship.”

The Roswell Community Band rehearses each Monday from 7 to 8 p.m. at the New Mexico Military Institute band hall from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Anyone who has played in a high school or university band is invited to join the group. Two concerts are held each year, one in December and one in May. For more information, call 575-626-9240.