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Great Bend Municipal Band tradition continues
Grant Mathews directs the Great Bend Municipal Band in its first concert of the season, Thursday in Jack Kilby Square. The next concert is set for 8:15 p.m. this Thursday, June 9. - photo by photo by Susan Thacker/Great Bend Tribune

For only the second time since 2019, an audience stood to hear the Great Bend Municipal Band play “The Star-Spangled Banner,” Thursday at the band shell in the courthouse square.

The band had no concerts at all in 2020 and one patriotic concert around the 4th of July in 2021. Band Director Grant Mathews said they were glad to be back after missing two summers due to the  COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s a beautiful evening for a concert,” he said.

The band then performed “American Patrol,” a favorite in the repertoire of marches for over 100 years, Mathews said. 

But there were also newer compositions, including the theme to the Star Wars-inspired television series, “The Mandolorian” and the popular sing-along, “Friends in Low Places.”

Along the way, there was a polka, an African-inspired piece called “Kenya Contrasts,” a hit pop song from the 1950s (“The Syncopated Clock”), and a locally commissioned piece written by former Municipal Band Director Steven Lueth, “The Courthouse Square March.”

Lueth shared his original composition in 2017, when the opening of the Great Bend Municipal Band summer series marked the 90th anniversary of the Clayton L. Moses Memorial Band Shell, which had recently been renovated.

Thursday's concert ended on a traditional note with “Sousa! Sousa! Sousa!" a medley of three marches by John Philip Sousa.

The Order of the Eastern Star provided free water, as they always do.

The next performances will begin at 8:15 p.m. on Thursdays, June 9 through Juy 14, on the Thelma Faye Harms Stage at the Clayton L. Moses Memorial Band Shell.