Summer is here and the Chester Municipal Band has kicked off its 2017 Summer Concert Series, the 80th year it has existed as a formal entity.
The 2017 season started a week late due to the fact that Steve Colonel, Municipal Band director, was in Florida with the Chester High School Band and Swing Choir.
The Muni Band had its first rehearsal on June 8, when most members showed up to knock off the rust of eight months rest.
The usual Muni Band schedule calls for a Monday evening two-hour rehearsal from 7-9 p.m. followed by a Tuesday evening concert that starts at 7 p.m. and lasts an hour.
The band features 40-50 musicians depending on the week. Historically, the band was made up of primarily adults and college students.
Over the years, however, as members have died, retired from playing, or just got too old to continue. High school students and even an occasional grade school student have joined the group to keep it alive and well.
The Muni Band had always been an excellent opportunity for veteran members to stay fresh and keep up with their music skills and desires to continue playing music. For school-age students of all ages, the Muni Band is a great teaching ground and an opportunity to learn from some of the best musicians in the area.
Many members of the Muni Band have gone on to study music in college at one level or another. Some have become music majors, music teachers, music performers or played in numerous music venues in the area and beyond. Others merely play for fun and enjoyment at local functions throughout the years.
Concerts take place on June 13, 20, and 27. They continue on July 4, 11, 25 as well as August 1 and 8.
The season ends on Sunday, September 10 at the 2017 Popeye Picnic. This concert takes place at the Chester Gazebo at 5:30 p.m.
The regular location of Muni Band concerts is the Chester Gazebo. Debbie Brooke of Spinach Can Collectibles very graciously allows the Muni Band to store music stands, chairs and other concert-related equipment in the basement of her store to make it easier for the band to have easy access to equipment without having to haul it all each week.
The first concert was held June 13 at the First United Methodist Church in Chester. The Methodist Outreach Committee offered free homemade cookies and lemonade to concert-goers and musicians following the concert.
On June 27, the First Baptist Church in Chester will host the concert which typically includes an old-fashioned ice cream social and drinks during and following the concert.
Any community organization wishing to host a concert can schedule a Tuesday evening event by calling Steve Colonel at 618-826-4275 or 618-615-8335.