The Sioux Falls Municipal Band turns 100 years old

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Sioux Falls is home to many sights and sounds, but there’s one sound that’s been around longer and louder than most.

The Sioux Falls Municipal Band has been around for over 100 years: composing music and memories for each coming generation. The band was formed in 1919.

“And the band has gone continuously through the second world war and the great depression. So, it’s been a constant in the community since that point,” Band Director Chris Hill said.

This year marks 100 years the band has been playing and creating music for the city.

“It’s great. It’s so exciting; I was actually looking forward to this when I first got the job in 1998. It was like, ‘I want to be here for the 2019 season because this is going to be… fantastic,” Hill said.

To help celebrate this achievement the Old Courthouse Museum opened up a new exhibit sharing the band’s history.

“So we start at when the band was voted into existence in 1919, like through some of the troubles they were having like getting uniforms in the early 1920’s, implementing women in the band in the 1960’s, some rough patches during world war one and world war two,” Ben Devlin, Exhibits Assistant Old Courthouse Museum. 

But no matter what situations arise, the band hasn’t changed their tune; they’ve only added more.

“And there are times when something will happen like when, let’s say Michael Jackson died. We actually went to our archives, pulled out a Michael Jackson medley, handed it out at the concert – you know, we get together about 20 minutes before the concert and I remember handing the piece of music to somebody, and she was new in the band, and she goes, ‘Oh, when are we going to be playing this,’ I looked at my watch and said, ‘about 35 minutes from now,'” Hill said.

Even though music changes from generation. It’s the love of that music that keeps bringing people back.

“The range in the audience ranges from teenagers on dates to people who remember the band back in the ’50’s and will compare… and they say, that actually right now that we have more people coming to concerts than we did in the ’50’s,” Hill said.

“It’s an entity that’s been around for so long that a lot of people just kind of accept as it’s always been here. But it has an important stay in Sioux Falls and the area. It’s a very celebrated band: they’ve been written about nationally,” Devlin said.

And if you give it a listen, you may find something to love about it too.

“It’s the chance to hear the music of different kinds: of a style you like, and maybe a style which you don’t know, but might grow to love,” Hill said

The band has just began their special summer season with many special performances and guests coming together to help them celebrate their century long success.

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