60 years ago on March 31, 1957 the Northshore Concert Band, formerly known as the Northbrook American Legion Community Concert Band, held its first performance at Glenbrook High School. Under the direction of John P. Paynter, rehearsals were held at the Geo. W. Benjamin American Legion Post No. 791. There were eleven members at that first rehearsal.
“53 instrumental musicians participated in the concert, which featured la local soprano soloist, Wilma Stack Moller. The program for the band’s debut concert included the following description:
The COMMUNITY CONCERT BAND was organized just a little more than a year ago, starting with about ten members. It is a completely volunteer group sponsored by the Geo. W. Benjamin American Legion Post No. 791 and composed of men from the various communities of the north suburban area. The BAND meets each Wednesday evening for two-hour rehearsals throughout the year, and concentrates on playing a balanced program of material ranging from the finest literature for concert band to a large number of marches and novelties. Most of the members of the band are not professional musicians, and the personnel includes various occupations and ages. Besides providing an entertainment service for the community in which we live, the BAND is giving an outlet to musical talent of all degrees of advancement for those men who wish to participate. Through the generous support of the Geo. W. Benjamin Post No. 791 of the American Legion and the kind cooperation of the administration for Glenbrook High School, the COMMUNITY CONCERT BAND is a musical experience open to all men in the community. Additional concerts are being planned now for Veterans’ Hospitals and Children’s homes, as well as for outstanding public events. New members are always welcome and should contact the Director or Officers of the BAND.”
“There were seventeen selections for the concert demonstrated Paynter’s skill at programming. From the very beginning, he selected a variety of musical styles, guaranteeing that each audience member would hear something interesting and that each band member would play something challenging. Selections included an appropriate opening number in light of the band’s sponsorship – the “American Legion March” by Charles Parker. In addition, the band played several other marches, some orchestral transcriptions, a waltz, traditional Irish, Spanish and American music, and songs including selections from Oklahoma, featuring Wilma Stock Moller as soloist. The program ended with John Philip Sousa’s crowed-pleasing “The Stars and Stripes Forever“. The concert was well received and the Northbrook American Legion Community Band was on its way.”*
*Selection from On the Path to Excellence; The Northshore Concert Band Paynter, Buehlman and Beyond by William A. Carson.
Please visit the Northshore Concert Band timeline to learn more about our path to excellence!