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Joliet American Legion Band hosts spring benefit concert on May 20

JOLIET – The Joliet American Legion Band will host its spring benefit concert on May 20 at the Billie Limacher Park & Theatre at 201 W. Jefferson St. in Joliet.

The theme is "A Musical Tribute to Mr. Tom Drake, Director Emeritus." The lobby opens at 5:30 p.m. The concert will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. There will be an intermission and refreshments.

Founded in 1946, the Joliet American Legion Band (sponsored by American Legion Post #1080) is an award-winning, all-volunteer organization.

This year’s benefit concert will be a special tribute to long-time director, Tom Drake, who retired at the conclusion of the band’s 2016 “Sounds of Christmas” concert held at the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet.

Now the director emeritus, Drake, will be able to enjoy the Joliet American Legion Band under the leadership of Interim Director Sharon Huff. 

Drake first joined the Band as a member of the clarinet section in 1957 before officially assuming the role of Director in the early 70’s. He directed the Joliet American Legion Band as it played for the park’s very first “Concert In The Rough” in 1975, before the bandshell was even built.

Over the decades, Drake’s dedication has enriched the community with many free concerts of high caliber, reflected in the band’s 38 National Championships and 52 State titles.

During the band's first year in 1946, the men returning from war wore their own military uniforms to their first competition in San Francisco. The won first place, and received three standing ovations.

The band is raising funds to offset expenses incurred by the band throughout the year. All ticket donations and program ads will benefit the band. Any unsold tickets will also be available at the door (cash or check payable to the Joliet American Legion Band).

Suggested ticket donation is $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors age 55 and up. Tickets are available through band members and the park. Limited seating. Reserve early:

For tickets and information, call 815-724-3761 or visit www.bicentennialpark.org.

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