Members of the Great Bend City Band had an extra week to prepare for their first concert of 2023, after being rained out on June 1. This week, the show went off without a hitch, starting promptly at 8:15 p.m. in the band shell at Jack Kilby Square.
Great Bend USD 428 Band Director Grant Mathews is the municipal band director. He said approximately three dozen musicians get together two hours before the concerts on Thursday evenings and have one rehearsal before the show.
Each program starts with “The Star Spangled Banner.”
Justin Engleman from the Barton County Historical Society Board of Directors served as emcee and also played trumpet with the band, introducing the “Alamo March” by Karl King; “Begin the Beguine” by Cole Porter; “How the West was Won” theme by Alfred Newman; “Blessed are They,” the first movement of the “German Requiem” by Johannes Brahms; “The Graduation March” from the movie “Stripes,” by Elmer Bernstein; a medley of Gershwin songs and a medley of songs from “The Wizard of Oz.”
The audience was invited to dance and sing along to “Achy Breaky Heart” by Billy Ray Cyrus. As dusk approached, the band wrapped up its 45-minute show with Sousa’s “Liberty Bell March.”
Engleman also recognized the band managers, Curtis and Debbie Koch, and audience member Joe Boley, a retired bandmaster. Boley attends most City Band concerts and this summer he is also selling copies of his book, “Have Baton Will Travel,” a history of area municipal bands and their bandmasters from 1874-2022.
Next week the Great Bend City Band will have two performances, both starting at 8:15 p.m. in Jack Kilby Square. The first is the regular concert on Thursday, June 15. That will be followed by a concert of big band music on Friday, June 16.
Thursday evening shows continue through July 6. Additional concerts are scheduled for Saturday, July 1 (patriotic music); Tuesday, July 11; and Thursday, July 20.