Remembering J.B. Webster
James Bennett “J. B.” Webster, 87, died Feb. 1, 2016.
He was a United States Army veteran serving during the Korean Conflict with the 10th Division Army Band at Fort Riley. Following discharge from the Army in 1953, he was band director at St. John and Hays schools, and then became instrumental music instructor and golf coach at Barton County Community College in 1969.
His musical legacy includes being a member of First United Methodist Church choir, Barton Community College Prairie Winds Concert Band and Jazz Band, BCC Pit Orchestra, Olde Tyme Towne Band, Dixieland All Stars Band, Great Bend City Band and Great Bend Jazz Festival Committee. He was also a 65-year member of the Music Educators National Conference.
In 1987, he was named Outstanding Bandmaster by the Kansas Bandmasters Association. He enjoyed playing trombone in the Ted Smith, Jay Leonard and Eddie Basgall bands, the Barton County Kix Band, The Flatland Big Band, The River Bend Five Dixieland Band and leading his own Jay Bennett Band and Little Big Band.
The Great Bend City Band’s weekly concerts move indoors for the month of July. Free concerts will be offered Thursday, July 7 and Tuesday, July 12, at the Crest Theater, 1905 Lakin Ave. Both of the free concerts are open the public and start at 8:15 p.m.
Thursday’s concert is the band’s annual program of patriotic music. There will be tributes to Abraham Lincoln and John Fitzgerald Kennedy, with narration by Vern Fryberger, director of choral activities at Barton Community College. .
Barton’s instrumental music director, Steven Lueth, directs the City Band. However, elementary school children who attend Thursday’s concert may enter a drawing and the winner will direct the band that evening when it plays John Philip Sousa’s “The Stars And Stripes Forever.” There will be a sign-up sheet at the door that night prior to the concert. A name will be drawn from the entries.
City Band member Justin Engleman will provide a flag presentation for the Sons of the American Revolution, and veterans of U.S. armed forces will be recognized. The band will perform a medley of the theme songs of each branch.
Jazz on July 12
The final concert of the 2016 series will be on Tuesday, July 12. It will feature the City Band and Jazz Band, also made up of area musicians.
“The last concert is a ‘Star Concert’,” Lueth said. Songs will have an outer space theme, such as music from “Star Wars.”
The program will also include remembrance of J.B. Webster, a past City Band director who died earlier this year.