SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — For members of a longtime city staple, approval of Sioux Falls’ nearly $594 million budget is music to the ears. It includes funding for the Sioux Falls Municipal Band.
KELOLAND News previously told you the budget initially cut that money, which put the historic band on the chopping block.
The initial news was a big blow to longtime fan Pat Ryan. For nearly 101 years, the Sioux Falls Municipal Band has put on concert after concert. Ryan hasn’t seen nearly that many, but she says she’s seen a lot of them.
“Every Sunday night, for all of my life, It’s been a part of what my family has done, what my family has listened to. And I’m old, so, that’s a long time,” Ryan said.
Hearing the news the Band isn’t going anywhere makes Ryan feel as giddy as a kid again.
“I am so looking forward to it, yes,” Ryan said.
Initially, Mayor Paul TenHaken’s 2021 budget cut the band. In a statement, TenHaken said he had to make tough choices due to the economic impacts from the pandemic.
Bandmaster Christopher Hill says support from the City Council and fans helped change that.
“We do all those performances for our military veterans and without us, they wouldn’t have the music there. We serve the seniors in this community by going from retirement community to nursing home to senior centers,” Hill said.
The budget sets aside $112,000 for the band. Initially, Hill thought the funding was closer to $130,000. City Councilors also included an amendment that will create a task force to look at how to pay for the band so it plays on well into the future.
“I think we’re going to be able to put in place a plan that will make sure America’s best city will keep America’s best band going,” Hill said.
Ryan has seen a lot of performances from the Sioux Falls Municipal Band at Terrace Park. After months of uncertainty, she’s thrilled to get an encore.
“I’ll be right here at the top, so I’ll be able to look down and see and listen to all of it,” Ryan said.