The Lakeshore Symphonic Band will celebrate its 35th anniversary during a special concert March 6, 2011 at the Cedarburg Performing Arts Center in Cedarburg. Admission is $5.00. Under the direction of guest conductor Peter Thompson, the band will perform a variety of symphonic music for band. To commemorate the anniversary a slide show will be presented as the band plays “Themes Like Old Times”. Original members Cindy Kimball and Richard Steinmetz will be introduced, and awarded for their 35 years of continuous participation in the band. All former members of the band are invited to attend the performance and sit in with the current members to perform the concert finale, “Stars and Stripes Forever.”
The audience is invited to join the past and present members of the band during a reception immediately following the concert.
The March 6 concert begins at 3:00 PM Sunday at the Cedarburg Performing Arts Center. Selections to be performed include:
Rush Samuel R. Hazo
Video Games Part I & II Marty O’Donnell
Irish Tune from County Derry Percy Grainger
Lights Out E.E. McCoy
Jazz Suite No.2 (Dmitri Shostakovich ) arr. Johan de Meij
Theme Like Old Times arr. Warren Barker
The Stars and Stripes Forever March Sousa
The band will perform its annual Concerto Concert on May 15 at the Cedarburg Performing Arts Center. The LSB has also been asked to perform a summer concert in Grafton on July 14 as part of a Grafton’s series of live music sponsored by G.A.L.A.
For more information about the Lakeshore Symphonic Band, see the band’s web site at www.lakeshoresymphonicband.org.
A History of the LSB
In the spring of 1976, several Ozaukee County adults sought an outlet to use their musical talents. At the time the existing adult bands in the area rehearsed and performed primarily during the summer because they included student musicians among their ranks. One of the organizers, Judy Slade of Cedarburg, approached Grafton music storeowner Jerry Talbert with the idea of forming an adult community band that would rehearse and perform primarily from September through May.
Slade and Talbert asked Tom Christie, band director at Grafton High School, for assistance. They in turn presented the idea of a community band to Ralph Zaun, president of Grafton State Bank, who became an enthusiastic and key early supporter. An advisory board was created that included Christie, Talbert, Zaun, and Gerald Greun. Advertising in local newspapers and at Talbert’s Music, the organization invited all area adult musicians to participate.
The organizers hired Clyde Brehm as the band’s first director. Brehm was a graduate of the University of Wisconsin with a degree in music, and was music director for the Kewaskum school district. The band held its first rehearsal on September 22, 1976; not knowing who or how many musicians would show up. To the delight of the organizers, about 30 musicians answered the invitation, coming from Grafton, Cedarburg, Port Washington, Fox Point, Glendale, and other communities. Many of them had not played their instruments for many years. However, their ranks did include several music teachers and six band directors including John Wichman, Ron Carr, Tom Fisher, and Tom Miller.
The first officers of the Band were Fred Schultz, president; Judy Slade, vice president; Barbara Schmit, secretary; and Erik Moser, treasurer.
During the first three months of weekly rehearsals, word spread and the numbers grew to about 45 musicians ranging in age from 18 to 60. The band performed its first concert on Jan. 23, 1977 in the Grafton High School Auditorium. Members of the Cedarburg and Grafton Junior Women’s Clubs served as ushers and door attendants. Tickets were $1.00. A second concert was held four months later on May 22, 1977.
Just before the second season began, the band faced a significant transition. First-year director Clyde Brehm stepped down to devote more time to his new full-time job with a Waukesha music publisher. (Mr. Brehm later died in 1988 at age 56.) LSB leaders had to work quickly to ensure the future of the fledgling organization.
“Someone contacted me about becoming the director,” said Albert “Bud” Asch. “I think it might have been Cindy Kimball, who had been a student of mine at UW-WC. I said, “Let’s give it a try.” Asch was professor of music at the University of Wisconsin – Washington County. He was also director of the Moraine Symphonic Orchestra of West Bend. Because of his connections with the West Bend College, Asch arranged to have LSB participation qualify for college credit.
For the next 19 years, Asch led the band through weekly rehearsals and four to seven concerts per season. Venues included high school gymnasiums and auditoriums, community centers, churches, even shopping malls and outdoor parks. During that time, several innovations were tried, some of which have become traditions for the band and its audiences. For example, the band’s first Christmas Concert at Holy Hill cathedral in Hubertus was held in December of 1989. Every year since then audiences have looked forward to this beautiful and inspiring holiday tradition.
Another tradition is the band’s annual Young Artists competition for aspiring high school musicians. The first such competition was held in 1981. Since than the high school musicians from through the area have competed for a scholarship and the honor of performing with the band during its annual spring concerto concert.
For the first 10 years of its existence, the band never ventured outside of Ozaukee or Washington counties to perform. In 1986 leaders announced plans to broaden their horizons with a 16-day, five-concert tour of West Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. Fundraising efforts began for this ambitious undertaking aided by the band’s part-time business manager and bass clarinetist Joan Blank. However, the trip was not to be. In March of that year, Blank dies and in April, the United States launched an air raid on Libya in retaliation for a bombing in West Germany that killed two American soldiers. The U.S. State Department recommended that American groups not travel to Europe.
Two years later, a different type of performance tour was held. In June of 1988, 46 members traveled by chartered bus to Wisconsin’s Door Count for three weekend concerts. The band performed in Sturgeon Bay and Ellison Bay. The band returned to Door County in 1989 and 1996 to perform.
In 1996, Bud Asch retired from his position as conductor after 19 seasons with the Lakeshore Symphonic Band. Having previously retired from his teaching position with UW-WC, Asch cited his increasing time commitment with the Moraine Symphony Orchestra for his need to step down as leader of the LSB. As the band searched for a new permanent director during the 1996-97 season, rehearsals and concerts continue under the direction of Lori McCrae and Dave Pierce.
The search ended in 1997 with the hiring of Louis Menchaca as the third director of the Lakeshore Symphonic Band. Menchaca is Director of Instrumental Music and Chairman of the Music Department at Concordia University, Mequon, Wisconsin. Under his direction the band continued to develop musically and attract experienced musicians. The band performed at the National band Association Wisconsin Chapter convention in January of 2005.
After eight years as director, Dr. Menchaca chose to devote more time to his family and other commitments and resigned as the LSB musical director.
The two years following Dr. Menchaca’s departure, the band had guest conductors. Dr. Walter Rich was awarded the responsibilities as musical director in the fall of 2007, and lead the Lakeshore Symphonic Band for 3 years. Dr. Rich held the position of Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Bands at Lakeland College. He has also served as conductor of the Edgewood College Wind Ensemble.
During its 35th season the band is enjoying having guest conductors. Clay Wachholz, director of bands at Cedarburg High School conducted the opening concert in October 2010. Dan Ackley who teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Washington County conducted the Christmas concert at Holy Hill this past December. Peter Thompson director of Bands at South Milwaukee High School will be the director for the March 6, 2011 concert and past LSB Music Director, Dr. Louis Menchacca will return to the podium on May 15, 2011 to conduct the annual concerto concert.
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