The Town Band

By Galen Lawrence

Gone from the scene is the local institution known as the municipal band. Why it disappeared could be due to many different reasons. Now only the larger towns and cities are able to maintain one.

From the Doon Comet Band in the 1890'a to the last performances in the 50's it was an important part of small town entertainment. The weekly Saturday night summer band concert was a really big affair with all the farmers coming to town in their striped bib overalls and the kids having a ball running around not paying much attention to the music. Concerts were usually in the park and a specially constructed stand held the musicians. Usually marches from the Bennett bank book were the order of the evening with a few waltzes for a change of pace. In between numbers cars parked on both sides of the street next to the city park would honk their horns to show their appreciation. In later years the concerts were held on Wednesday nights with free movies shown on a screen provided by the east side of Sam Ketel's Gamble Store.

Besides concerts other affairs the band participated in were booster trips for Doon celebrations and Memorial Day observances with the band marching down main street and their playing at the cemetery. In winter months the band would play at basket socials and concerts in the old Woodman Hall and for fun they would play and roller skate at 15 minute intervals in the Sioux Center roller skating rink.

Most surrounding towns had bands and on concert night the towns (especially Doon, Hull and Rock Valley) would exchange players to bolster their numbers.

Although the present generation missed out on the municipal band era, many memories are held by us older folks. It has been hard to replace the local band as a unifying organization and source of entertainment.


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