Danville Municipal Band Marks 75th Anniversary With A Concert

The Danville Municipal Band

The Danville Municipal Band, in performance at the bandshell in Lincoln Park in Danville.

(Danville Municipal Band Facebook Page)

It’s been 75 years since the city of Danville formed its municipal band, combining several existing community bands, including the C&EI Flyer Band (sponsored by the Chicago and Eastern Illinois EI Railroad) and Danville’s Knights of Pythias Band (named for the fraternal organization). While the band’s regular season of free concerts is over for the summer, they’ll perform a special concert on Sunday, August 2nd, to mark their diamond anniversary.

The concert will not be at the band’s regular venue, the outdoor bandshell at Danville’s Lincoln Park, but about a mile away at St. James United Methodist Church. And unlike the program during their summer outdoor concerts, Danville Municipal Band Director David Schroeder says the program will turn away from more popular pieces to concentrate on light classics, from Franz von Suppé’s Light Cavalry Overture to the English Folk Song Suite by Ralph Vaughn Williams.

“When we play in parks, we play pop tunes for summertime” says Schroeder. “But this is a chance for people to see that, wow, this is really some band, not just folks sitting down and chowin’ through some stuff and having fun. It’s going to be great.”

Schroeder, who is also the Director of Bands and Chorus for Bismarck Henning Junior-Senior High School, has been the Danville Municipal Band’s director for the past 20 years. His playing years with the band (bass clarinet and tympani) go back to the 1980s. Back then, the Danville Municipal Band played two concerts a week throughout the summer, from Memorial Day to Labor Day. This summer, the quarter-cent sales tax in Danville that funds the band’s free outdoor concert was only enough to fund a six-concert season. Schroeder says Ameren is paying this special concert to celebrate the Danville Municipal Band’s 75th year.  

Besides music by von Suppé and Vaughn Williams, the Danville Municipal Band’s 75th anniversary concert will include the tone poem “Finlandia” by Jan Seibelius (in a transcription by Lucian Cailliet), “War March of the Priests” by Felix Mendelssohn, the “Pines of the Appian Way” finale from Ottorino Respighi’s “Pines of Rome” and the Canadian Brass’ New Orleans-style arrangement of “Just A Closer Walk With Thee”. Plus the concert will include a march by John Phillip Sousa, “The Manhattan Beach March”, in an arrangement by the late Mark Hindsley, director of bands at the University of Illinois in the 1950’s and ‘60’s (Schroeder is a U of I graduate).

Schroeder says the concert will be an opportunity to showcase the Danville Municipal Band and its history.

“The mayor’s going to read a proclamation for the band, a little history, and it’s just going to be a fun evening”, said Schroeder. “So, we’re looking forward to it greatly.”

Concert admission is free, Sunday evening at 7 PM at St. James United Methodist Church, 504 North Vermilion Street in Danville.

Story source: WILL