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Ames Municipal Band kicks off its 2018 season on June 7 in Bandshell Park.


The Ames Municipal Band kicks off its 2018 season on Thursday, June 7 in Bandshell Park.

The Ames Municipal Band began in 1924 with its roots in an 1877 cornet band.  Iowa has its unique 1921 Municipal Band Law that authorized municipalities with a population of less than 40,000 to levy a tax to support a local band.  The famous march composer Karl King even wrote a march entitled The Iowa Band Tax Law March to recognize this unique support which was later copied by 33 states and at least 3 foreign countries.

This “law” is a key reason Iowa has a large number of “municipal bands” versus community bands as in other states.  Most community bands rely on commercial forms of financial support.  The Municipal Band Law is also the reason that band shells are prevalent throughout the state of Iowa. Ames’ Bandshell Park was built in the early 1930s and refurbished in 2005.

The Ames Municipal Band receives its support from the City of Ames and is a part of the vast offerings presented by Ames Parks and Recreation.

The Ames Municipal Band has 50 members who range from college-age to players in their 80s.  There are members who have played in the band for many years.  The band has several husband and wife players and has had generations of family players over the years. They rehearse each Tuesday night for their Thursday performances.  They participate in the Memorial Day program, the Ames’ 4th of July Parade and perform each summer in the Boone Community Band festival.

Dr. Michael Golemo is beginning his sixteenth year as the director of the Ames Municipal Band. Golemo also serves as the Director of Bands at Iowa State University.  Previous directors of the Ames Municipal Band include Richard Day, Milton Trexel, Clate Chenette and Homer Gartz.  Gartz jokingly reminds Golemo that he’s still a “rookie director” as many former directors led the band for decades.

Concerts are emceed by the talented John Burnett-Larkins and are aired live on KASI AM 1430.  Concerts are also filmed by City of Ames videographers for presentation on the City’s TV channel 12.

Free hour-long concerts are presented each Thursday evening in June and July.  Each week the band performs a different concert featuring popular music, light classical, hymns and music from Broadway and Hollywood.  Each concert has a vocal soloist and at times, instrumental soloists and guest conductors.  World-renowned Simon Estes will be with the band on June 7.  Concerts always conclude with a march by John Philip Sousa and the traditional “light show” by Bandshell staff.

Pre-show entertainment begins each week at 7:00 pm and this year’s line up is among the best yet.  This season’s pre-show entertainment includes:
June 7 – The Green Oaks Band with Reggie Greenlaw
June 14 – Heartland Marimba Performers
June 21 – Heart of Iowa Senior Band
June 28 – Ames Choral Society
July 5 – Ed Kaizer Family and Friends Jazz
July 12 – Jive for Five Brass
July 19 – Mariachi Reyes del Oeste Band
July 26 – Fifth of Brass Quintet

For additional and up-to-the-minute information, check out the Ames Municipal Band Facebook page.

Thursday nights offer free, fun and family-friendly concerts. Concertgoers are encouraged to bring blankets or lawn chairs.  Many bring a picnic supper or other snacks.

Some say if there are concerts in Bandshell Park, it must be summer.  If that is the case, summer “musically begins” this coming Thursday, June 7.

Dr. Michael Golemo (515-291-9341)

Submitted by Ames Municipal Band

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