The Fort Wayne-area community band is ready to return to the stage


FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – After 16 months away from the stage, the Fort Wayne-area community band is back to perform again at 7:30 p.m. this Tuesday at the Foellinger Outdoor Theater.

The pandemic put music on hold after the band’s concert at Purdue Fort Wayne in March 2020. With distancing guidelines and capacity restrictions that were put in place, board members chose not to rehearse and risk of being exposed to the virus. The band has been in the community for over 40 years and there was real concern that the musicians wouldn’t return.

That all changed after restrictions were eased over the past few months. After a series of virtual board meetings, the board agreed to reconvene the band in a new rehearsal space: a parking lot at Purdue Fort Wayne. The space allowed band members to be outdoors and spread out.

The band rehearses in a parking lot at Purdue Fort Wayne

The music returned on Tuesday, May 18 in the parking lot. Assistant conductor Sue Jehl says “it was like Christmas, birthday and the 4th of July all rolled into one.” 67 members came back that night and everyone was thrilled to be back in rehearsal after 14 long months.

It was a very special moment for Jehl. “Music isn’t something we just do…it’s a part of us. And having that part of you missing for 14 months just left that big hole empty. And being together again was just beyond words.

Deputy Chiefs David Blackwell and Sue Jehl are back together again

It was a bit of an adjustment for everyone to get used to the echo of space, but the musicians didn’t miss a beat. Over the past few weeks, the members have returned to near pre-pandemic levels and they now have full instrumentation for Tuesday’s concert. The band was even allowed to return indoors to their old rehearsal space earlier this month.

Admission to Tuesday’s concert is free. The theme of the concert is “Together Again”. The group will perform a variety of music including marches, light classics, light opera and a tribute to Dick Clark.

Another photo of the band rehearsing in the parking lot

If you can’t make it on Tuesday, the band will perform again at the Foellinger Theater on Tuesday, August 10 at 7:30 p.m. The theme of this concert is “Music for a Midsummer Night”. The group is also due to perform on Saturday July 17 at 8:00 p.m. on Place Friemann before and during the closing fireworks of the Three Rivers Festival.

If you want to learn more or are interested in joining the group, check out the group’s website or Facebook page.


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