‘Amazing’ Worthington City Band’s season starts June 7

WORTHINGTON -- Fans of the "Amazing" Worthington City Band won't want to miss a minute of the group's 124th season, which officially begins at 7:30 p.m. June 7 at historic Chautauqua Park.

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Members of the “Amazing” Worthington City Band’s board are responsible for organizing concert set-up and teardown, scheduling intermission acts and emcees and generally coordinating the band’s proceedings over the course of each year. From left are band board members Jan Wass (secretary), Aaron Johnson (president), Monica Horn, John Nordell, Brett Lehman, Shirley Rempel and director Mike Peterson. (Not pictured: Rich Besel, Daren Flinck and treasurer Kris Besel.) (Ryan McGaughey / Daily Globe)

WORTHINGTON -  Fans of the “Amazing” Worthington City Band won’t want to miss a minute of the group’s 124th season, which officially begins at 7:30 p.m. June 7 at historic Chautauqua Park.


That’s because the summer concert series will wrap up a full week earlier than usual, with 40 band members scheduled to share music and friendship in Crailsheim, Germany, from July 18-28.


“We’ll be enjoying all the hospitality and Gemütlichkeit that Worthington’s sister city has to offer,” explained Mike Peterson.



Peterson is set to begin his fourth season as director of the “Amazing” Worthington City Band. He’s primed to lead the multi-generational group, starting next Wednesday evening, both at home and abroad.


“This is really a fun gig to have,” Peterson assured. “I enjoy being in front of a good band and playing great music for appreciative audiences.


“And Chautauqua Park is such a fine venue for outdoor concerts.”


Although Peterson has been to Germany once before, his previous itinerary didn’t happen to include a stop in Crailsheim-but several of the city band members registered to go in July are making repeat trips to the community, while others, like Peterson, are eager to lay their eyes on Worthington’s hospitable counterpart for the first time.



“This will be a new and exciting experience for me,” said Peterson.


Jan Wass, board secretary of the “Amazing” Worthington City Band and a clarinetist in the ensemble, journeyed to Crailsheim with the four oldest of her six musical children when the band last toured there in 2011.


This summer, she and her baritone-playing husband, Warren, will let their younger two children (Megan, an oboist, and A.J., who will play trombone) in on the fun.


“We’re looking forward to showing them some of the sites we saw in 2011, and they’ll also have a chance to see where some of their family heritage originates,” Wass said.



“Everyone in Crailsheim was so accommodating and friendly, and our hosts made everyone feel like they were part of the family.”


The band members traveling to Crailsheim will perform on the opening day of that city’s Kulturwochenende (Cultural Weekend), as well as play a solo concert during their stay. All of this will help commemorate the 70th anniversary of the sister city alliance between Worthington and Crailsheim.


“They [the Crailsheimers] appreciate and honor music as much as we do, and Germany has a rich history of outstanding composers, so music is an important part of the lasting connection between the two cities,” said Peterson.


While the band warmed up for its summer start with an appearance in Monday’s local Memorial Day ceremony, the band’s full seasonal presentation will take off next Wednesday.


“We always add five or six new selections to the band’s repertoire each year,” said Peterson.


“A couple highlights are three pieces we’ll be playing in Germany with the Crailsheim city band members - ‘Old Comrades,’ ‘Appalachian Overture’ and ‘Air for Band’ - and a couple other new ones for us are ‘Trombones Triumphant,’ which will feature the trombone and baritone sections, and ‘The Saints’ Hallelujah,’ a fun compilation of ‘When the Saints Go Marching In’ and the ‘Hallelujah Chorus,’” he added.


Peterson mentioned that a few new marches will be thrown in over the coming weeks, as well.


Returning audience members will recognize the band’s familiar format, which includes an intermission feature, a community emcee and a “kiddy march,” after which participants are treated to complimentary pieces of candy.


At the first concert of the summer, Pat O’Neill will serve as emcee, while vocalist Kelly Reeves will provide the intermission entertainment.


“Our band board members work very hard to make sure everything is in place when the concert season rolls around,” affirmed Peterson. “This doesn’t happen by accident.


“And the city of Worthington has been so supportive of the band - since 1893.”


Peterson is quick to remind any would-be participants who have a neglected instrument sitting in a closet or under a bed that it’s never too late to climb on the bandwagon.


“There’s always room for more people in the city band; we’d love to have them,” offered Peterson.


“And we’re looking forward to another fantastic season.”

The "Amazing" Worthington City Band, conducted by Mike Peterson, performs during Monday's Memorial Day service at Chautauqua Park. (Ryan McGaughey / Daily Globe)

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