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Playing among friends: City band to visit Crailsheim July 2011

WORTHINGTON -- No sooner had the last strains of the "Amazing" Worthington City Band's final 2010 summer concert faded over Lake Okabena last night than director Jon Loy had the assembled audience anticipating the 2011 season -- and the promise of a band trip to Crailsheim, Germany, to cap it off.

"The last time the 'Amazing' Worthington City Band visited Crailsheim was in 1994 when Galen Benton led the band there," related Loy, now finishing his third year at the band's helm. "They had a terrific experience, and some of the band members who went then thought it was high time we did it again."

With an express invitation in hand from Rudolph Michl, the mayor of Crailsheim, discussion about making a trip commenced last summer. More details were presented to the approximately 65-member band earlier this season.

"We've had about 45 members say they are willing to commit to this, even though they will be paying their own way," said Loy. "What a great way to expand on the Worthington-Crailsheim connection, and for these dedicated band members to serve as musical ambassadors from Worthington to Crailsheim."

Crailsheim's Buergerwache band spent a week in the Worthington area just two years ago, sharing a concert with the local band at a Pioneer Village celebration.

Worthington's sister city relationship with Crailsheim dates to 1947, when the Charles and Tedo Cashel family, at the insistence of their young daughter, began sending relief supplies to the war-devastated German community.

A student exchange program blossomed thereafter, Worthington-Crailsheim International Inc., was formalized, and more than 60 years of interaction and relationships with Crailsheim-area residents is the result.

The band, comprised of instrumentalists from age 13 to older than 70, is planning to depart for Crailsheim on July 20, 2011, arriving just in time for Crailsheim's Cultural Weekend -- something akin to Worthington's International Festival, only bigger and longer.

"We will have a day after arriving to overcome some travel fatigue before we perform," explained Loy.

The band will likely play at least once as part of the Cultural Weekend celebration and on at least two other occasions during the week-long visit.

Band members and accompanying family or guests will be housed with Crailsheim volunteers. The group will have the chance to take a couple of day trips -- probably to Neuschwanstein and Rothenberg -- as well as experience activities in the Crailsheim area.

"It's really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Loy.

Band members who are younger than 18 must be accompanied by a parent on the journey, and past band members who are interested in joining the tour are welcome to get on board.

"We want to have a good, full sound when we're there, and we want to give as many interested instrumentalists the chance to be a part of this as possible," expressed Loy.

Although participants are responsible for their own travel expenses, the band is in the process of compiling a cookbook that will be sold to help defray some of the group costs, such as transporting a portion of the larger instruments to and from Germany.

The cookbook is expected to be available for sale this fall, and band members are already busily reviewing recipe cards for favorites they hope to include.

"Past Crailsheim visitors from Worthington share such wonderful stories about the kindness and hospitality they receive there, and we expect the same will be true next summer, too," said Loy.

For more information about the "Amazing" Worthington City Band's July 20-28, 2011, trip to Crailsheim, Germany, contact city band representatives Kris Besel, 376-9256, or John Nordell, 376-6538.

To reserve a city band cookbook for purchase, contact Katy Efner by e-mailing