News Column

Making music for the community

June 12, 2014

By Anthony Capps, Ames Tribune, Iowa

June 12--It's a band comprised of people from all walks of life.

Teachers, professors, students, researchers, lab workers, retirees and more come together every summer to play music for the Ames Municipal Band.

The band recently began its annual summer concert series. The second one is tonight at 8 p.m. in Bandshell Park.

Currently, the band is comprised of more than 50 musicians. Instruments include flute, bassoon, clarinet, tuba, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, horn and percussion.

Conductor Mike Golemo, who has headed the band for 12 years, said there's something for everyone at the concerts.

"There's something there in community bands that is really fun," Golemo said. "They pull people together from lots of professions. They allow people to get together and make music."

Golemo, who also serves as band director and chairperson of the music department at Iowa State University, is in charge of the music selection, booking band members, pre-show entertainment, arranging music facilities and publicity.

Types of songs can vary from light classical to waltzes, jazz and Broadway showtunes.

Tonight's concert will feature two soloists -- Anne Todey and Mike Giles -- and music by Glenn Miller and Duke Ellington as well as tango and the songs "Someone to Watch Over Me," by George and Ira Gershwin, and selections from Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Oklahoma!"

Like every concert this year, it will close with a march by John Philip Sousa.

The pre-concert entertainment is provided by performers from Robert Thomas Dancers.

Next week's concert will feature Simon Estes and Ames City Council members will be present for a meet and greet.

The band formally began in 1924 and was incorporated in 1925 as a separate organization under the city government. However, the group can trace its roots back to 1877 and its predecessor, the Ames Cornett Band. A women's band was also formed back in the day, too. In 1910, regular performances in Bandshell Park began.

In the band's 90-year history, there have been only seven directors.

Bass clarinetist Terry Adams is the longest serving musician in the band. It's been 63 years since, at age 14, he first played in a municipal band summer concert.

Adams missed two years when he was serving in the Army, but otherwise he's never missed a summer.

Trumpeter Bill Ferguson is celebrating his 60th year with the band this year. He joined at age 16.

Adams, who also plays clarinet and soprano saxophone, among other instruments, was asked by Richard Day, the conductor in 1929 and from 1942 to 1971, to join the band.

Adams credits Day with his enjoyment of music because going into junior high, he had no ambition to continue playing. Day taught him an appreciation of the music.

Ferguson said that when he started playing in the band it was comprised of more older people than young people. It's since changed.

When Adams and Ferguson started in the municipal band, practice was nearly a year-round thing and summer concerts went through August.

Today, the band only practices together two hours a week before their Thursday concerts, and during the off-summer months, the band ceases to meet or practice.

Concerts are in June and July with special performances for Memorial Day, Fourth of July and the Municipal Band Festival in Boone.

They all say they enjoy the municipal band, and that's the thing that keeps them coming back year after year.

There is some payment that comes with the performance. It's a point-based system and musicians can usually earn two to four points a week, but a point is only worth about $7.

While the music styles have changed, the concerts remain popular with people of all ages. Ferguson said it shows the band concerts are a real value to the community.

Ames Municipal Band

Featuring Anne Todey, vocalist; Mike Giles, alto saxophone soloist; and John Burnett-Larkins, emcee.

When: Tonight 8 p.m.

Where: Bandshell Park, Sixth Street and Duff Avenue.

The concert is free and open to the public.

The pre-concert, which begins at 7 p.m., will feature Robert Thomas Dancers and members of the Ames Elks Lodge and Boy Scout Troop No. 196.


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Source: Ames Tribune (IA)

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