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Still 'Amazing' after all these years: City band opens 2016 season Wednesday

WORTHINGTON -- Several rainy days and Mondays have passed since the "Amazing" Worthington City Band began rehearsing in early May for its 2016 season of Wednesday evening concerts.But a forecast of 79 degrees and sunny skies gives hope that the c...

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The “Amazing” Worthington City Band rehearses Monday night in preparation for its Wednesday concert. (Cameron Jenson/Daily Globe)

WORTHINGTON - Several rainy days and Mondays have passed since the “Amazing” Worthington City Band began rehearsing in early May for its 2016 season of Wednesday evening concerts.
But a forecast of 79 degrees and sunny skies gives hope that the community band’s premiere summer concert, set for 7:30 p.m. tomorrow in the historic Chautauqua Park band shell, will be nothing short of, well, perfect.
“The weather is going to be perfect,” boldly asserted Mike Peterson, who is beginning his third season as director of the “Amazing” Worthington City Band.
“We’re ready for the season to start, knowing we’ll have large crowds and a fine band on stage.”
An average of 60 instrumentalists participated in the weekly concerts during the past two summers, and Peterson is certain that head count will hold true this season as well.
“We have 66 chairs stored at the band shell, and we were bumping 70 at a couple of concerts last year,” he said.
“But we’re always willing to welcome anyone who might be interested in joining our ranks.”
Pat O’Neill, the band’s perennial first host of the season, will emcee tomorrow night, while vocalist Josie Nunez of Lakefield will share the intermission entertainment. 
As for the band, they’ll be ringing in the summer band season with tunes ranging from the country twang of “Elvira” to the contemporary hit “Let it Go” to “Jesus Loves Me,” along with Karl King’s “Peace Jubilee” penciled in to accompany the weekly kiddie march.
“And I’ve made it a little tradition to open the summer with ‘The Minnesota March’ by John Philip Sousa,” said Peterson, who assumed the conducting reins two years ago following director Jon Loy’s tenure with the group.
“Jon Loy will be a guest conductor on a piece at a concert later this month; it’s fun to tie in past directors with the present,” Peterson commented.
Recently, Peterson was delighted to see his name had been added to the listing of “Amazing” Worthington City Band directors (which begins with Wilson Abbott in 1909) that is etched on a marker in the midst of Chautauqua Park not far from the band shell where the concerts take place.
“I must be ‘official’ now,” quipped Peterson. “But it’s truly an honor to be listed among those conductors.
“Honestly, I was comfortable with the band from the second rehearsal of the first year because everyone was so good at making me feel welcome, and the band members have been pretty dependable about attending both the rehearsals and the concerts.”
While the regular season of concerts extends through July 20, an extra concert has been added to the schedule for Aug. 10, when the bridge sculpture currently being installed at Chautauqua Park will be dedicated and unveiled. The sculpture celebrates Worthington’s connection with its sister city of Crailsheim, Germany.
“There will be a delegation from Crailsheim here at that time, and it’s great to see the bridge to Crailsheim being put into place, knowing there’s an identical one over there pointing our way,” said Peterson.
Between June 29 and July 6, three “Amazing” Worthington City Band concerts are scheduled, with the festive Fourth of July concert falling in between.
“We have good programs picked for all of them, and there will be plenty of concerts in the park during that week,” promised Peterson.
“We’re looking forward to seeing big crowds at all of our concerts because people are very appreciative and take a lot of ownership in having this city band, which dates to 1893; it’s a great thing for the city of Worthington.”

The “Amazing” Worthington City Band performs at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Chautauqua Park in a free, open-to-the-public concert. In case of inclement weather, an alternate location will be announced. Interested instrumentalists may contact Mike Peterson at 360-2909 about joining the band.

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