Geneseo's Maple City Band Celebrates 25th July Fourth Concert - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Geneseo's Maple City Band Celebrates 25th July Fourth Concert

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It was a picture perfect Fourth of July, even as floodwaters changed plans for many this year.

One local tradition is Geneseo's Fourth of July concert in the park.

25 Geneseo Fourth of July's have come and gone with flags, ice cream and music in the park.

One might think it was always this way, but 25 years ago, Geneseo's Maple City Band was at a crossroads.

"Are we going to fold the band which had been in existence since 1906, or should we try to come up with some other way of fundraising," says trumpeter John Bean.

He says an IRS rule change cost the band its main source of funding, putting its future in jeopardy.

"We buy new music every year, there's a paid librarian, I get paid a little bit of money to do it," says Director Alan Kiser.

He played in the percussion section 25 years ago.

"There's been Tuesday nights, concerts in the park where we do a concert and someone else does an ice cream social to raise funds for their organization, and at the time there wasn't anything on July 4th because the fireworks in Geneseo were always the night before," says Kiser.

Band members decided to start a Fourth of July concert and host a steak fry. They were hoping to bolster an endowment fund two band members started with their own money.

Bean says, "I cooked steaks from 11 o'clock in the morning to probably very close to 1 o'clock in the afternoon, just covered with grease and hot, it was probably 105 degrees."

He says the cooking coupled with a two hour concert was too much.

"If you're a trumpet player you end up having your lips fall out of the end of the bell," says Bean.

The Kiwanis Club pitched in the next year. It switched the steak to pork chops and let the band raise money off dessert. Bean says the fourth wouldn't be the same without this concert.

"It wouldn't be for me, I can tell you that, I'm going to keep playing here as long as I'm able," says Bean.

25 years later, he still can, because the band found the way to play on.

Both Iowa and Illinois still have laws on the books allowing voters to approve spending tax money on city bands.

A number of those groups still exist, but the majority of community bands rely on donations to exist.

 

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