Americana

Through the Eyes of a Resident
As
a
resident
of
the
United
States,
I
felt
a
sense
of
joy
hearing
a
band
of
musicians
performing
in
a
park
 in
a
nearby
town.

Many
residents
like
me
seldom
get
to
know
the
real
 United
States,
unless
in
my
case,
American
friends
take
us
to
a
 wonderful
example
of
Americana:
the
band
concert
in
the
park.

It
is
 one
of
the
seldom‐publicized
free
activities
that
makes
America
a
 great
nation. In
Lincoln,
Illinois,
concerts
are
given
every
week
in
the
park
during
 the
months
of
June
and
July.

The
community
–
babies
in
strollers,
 parents
and
children
on
picnic
blankets,
grandparents
on
lawn
chairs
–
 assembles
at
the
downtown
park
to
enjoy
the
music.

Friends
attend
 the
free
concert
in
support
of
the
performers
and
enjoy
the
music;
parents
come
to
support
their
 daughters
and
sons
playing
in
the
band;
grandparents
proudly
come
to
listen
to
their
offspring
perform
 in
public. The
band’s
repertoire
ranges
over
American
band
composers
such
as
John
Edmondson,
Ed
Huckeby,
 Eric
Osterling,
John
Philip
Sousa,
and
more.

Amateurs
such
as
high‐school
students,
farmers,
a

Munindra Khaund, July 2010 1

physician,
a
retired
pastor,
daughters,
mothers,
and
 other
musicians
from
all
walks
of
life
make
up
the
 assorted
membership. The
musicians
are
all
volunteers
who
spend
the
time
 practicing
and
preparing
for
the
concert
on
Sundays.

 The
band
director
selects
a
wide
range
of
music
that
 challenges
the
players
and
makes
the
 performance
delightful
for
its
 enthusiastic
audience.

 Attendance
requires
no
 tickets.

A
few
local
 organizations
offer
financial
 sponsorship
to
offset
the
cost
 of
music,
advertising,
etc.

 Other
organizations
offer
 support
by
offering
rehearsal
facilities,
portable
sound
 systems,
chairs,
sheet
music,
and
even
musical
 instruments. The
community
band
provides
musicians
with
the
 opportunity
to
participate
in
an
effort
that
entertains
 the
members
of
the
community.

Band
members
enjoy
 the
camaraderie
of
playing
music
together.

In
addition,
 local
students
get
to
perform
in
front
of
an
audience
 and
enhance
their
skills
in
a
lively,
friendly
setting.

 Then
there
are
those
who
take
on
this
opportunity
to
 play
an
instrument
that
they
might
have
tucked
away
 since
high
school
or
college. Family
time
together?

This
could
be
a
misnomer
in
 today’s
world
of
mobile
phones,
iPads,
and
satellite
 dishes.

It
impresses
me
to
note
that
the
impact
of
a
 musical
performance
by
a
small
community
band
can
 challenge
the
technological
tools
that
are
forcing
our
 society
to
be
“on
the
grid”
all
the
time. Attendance
at
the
band
concerts
is
not
large
but
 everyone
there,
young
or
old,
wants
to
be
there.

The
 main
appeal
of
the
band’s
performance
lies
in
the
fact


Munindra Khaund, July 2010

2

that
people
care
and
come
to
gather
as
participant
–
 either
as
performers
or
audience
–
in
a
communal
 effort. I’m
not
familiar
with
State
and
local
bureaucratic
 enclaves
and
what
is
takes
to
increase
support
for
 small‐town
community
bands.

The
support
can
be
in
 terms
of
funding
for
instruments
or
sheet
music,
a
 recognition
dinner
for
the
musicians,
a
scholarship
for
a
 student,
etc.

Perhaps
newspapers
in
the
state
of
Illinois
 can
provide
some
coverage
for
their
local
community
 bands.

This
might
not
increase
newspaper
circulation
 but
isn’t
one
of
the
roles
 of
newspapers
is
to
 paint
a
true
picture
of
a
 society? Given
that
music
and
 education
in
the
arts
 have
undergone
a
 setback,
the
relationship
 between
community
bands,
music
education,
and
the
 revival
of
community
activities
needs
to
be
explored.

 Several
institutions
of
higher
education
seek
students
 with
community
service
as
a
part
of
their
application
 package.

Perhaps
a
student
who
has
participated
in
a
 community
band
since
middle‐
and
high‐school
can
 obtain
a
scholarship
for
undergraduate
studies.

 Perchance
the
opportunity
to
participate
at
a
 community
band
will
have
a
life‐long
impact
on
a
 young
adult,
given
the
association
with
other
more
 mature
musicians. As
viewed
through
the
eyes
of
this
resident,
a
 community
band
presenting
a
concert
on
a
sultry
 summer
evening
to
an
eager
audience
represents
the
 real
America,
which
I
support
wholeheartedly.

It
is
my
 hope
that
this
traditional
form
of
entertainment
 continues
to
serve
the
community
for
years
to
come.

It
 is
too
valuable
for
this
nation
to
lose
this
art
form.


Munindra Khaund, July 2010

3