Spring: a time for new beginnings.
For Joliet, and for the Joliet American Legion Band.
On May 5, the band will play its annual spring concert in its new rehearsal space, Crossroads Christian Church in Joliet.
Lois Henning, the band’s first woman president (Henning was elected in August), is hoping to fill all 850 seats. Admission is free, which is a new feature this year, Henning said, but she’s encouraging the community to bid on raffle baskets and/or give in-kind donations if possible.
Proceeds will go toward band expenses for participating in the American Legion’s national band competition.
“They are beginning a yearlong celebration of the American Legion convention,” Henning said. “Festivities will start in Minneapolis, and next year end in Indianapolis.”
About 65 to 75 members generally attend the competition, she said.
The cost includes bus transportation and accommodations for two nights, totaling about $20,000, Henning said.
The other expense is new band uniforms. The Joliet American Legion Band has not had new uniforms since 1993, but it will take about $25,000 to replace them, Henning said.
“We have worn them with pride, but it is time for a little updo,” Henning said.
Genre: “We do patriotic music – some of the old standards that everyone is familiar with, but also playing some new pieces that I think will be interesting to all sorts of ears.”
About Henning: “I’ve been a member for about 25 years and play the French horn. It’s an exciting band to play with. It’s quality music and an enthusiastic group.”
Words of wisdom: “I think music is something you can do from the time you’re a youngster. We run the gamut of ages. We see military veterans but also veterans of music who have played their whole lives.
According to the Joliet American Legion website:
• A.R. McAllister Jr. and William E Austin Jr. founded the all-volunteer Joliet American Legion Band in 1946. Original members were veterans.
• Of its 100 members, veterans make up about 20 percent; high school and college students make up about 40 percent.
• Selections: Include show tunes and classical as well as contemporary pieces played in a precise disciplined tradition of John Philip Sousa.
• Awards: The Joliet American Legion Band is the only band that’s been awarded a gold medal in international competition. Since 1946, the band has received 38 national and 52 state titles.
• Etc.: The band has performed for seven U.S. presidents, seven Illinois governors and numerous government officials and dignitaries. It was the first band to perform at the top of Colorado’s Pikes Peak and subsequently was dubbed the “America, The Beautiful Band” by the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Joliet American Legion Band’s spring concert
WHEN: 6:30 p.m. May 5
WHERE: Crossroads Christian Church, 2312 Essington Road, Joliet
ETC.: Free admission. Raffle baskets and light refreshments. Donations accepted.
INFORMATION: For information about the concert or how to join or donate, visit www.JolietLegionBand.org.