The Beginning of the West Suburban Concert Band

In  the  summer  of  1957,  Herbert  J.  Bassman , editor  of  the LaGrange Citizen Newspaper, issued a civic challenge to organize a municipal band. The challenge was accepted by Eugene Heeter and  Charles  “Chuck”  Stotz  and  in  the  fall  of  1957, 40  members showed up at Cossitt Ave. School for the first rehearsal of “The West Suburban Community Band”.

 

  Despite  radio,  television  and  hi-fi  recordings  an old-time  small-town community institution is staging a come-back. That is, the town band and mid-summer band concerts.

Despite  radio,  television  and  hi-fi  recordings  an old-time  small-town community institution is staging a come-back. That is, the town band and mid-summer band concerts.

LaGrange Citizen Newspaper
Summer 1957
Oomp-pah-pah!!

‘Why can’t this community have a band like that?’ was a common comment when  the  Downers  Grove  and  other  community  bands  oomp-pahed  their way down LaGrange Road and up Burlington during the Pet Parade in June.

Expanded  comment  from  others  included  praise  for  the  Lyons Township High School Band with the addition ‘The LTHS Band proves that there is a lot  of  musical talent in the  community  available  forn the  organization  of  a town band.’

Throughout  America  communities  are  reviving  town  bands  that make  a public appearance once a week in the town square, the band shell grove, or some other park.

Young and old congregate to sit in bleachers, lounge on the ground or just stroll  ‘round  and  ‘round  while  the  band  plays  on.  It  is difficult,  if  not impossible to conceive of a more civic type of event in which every resident of the community can participate.
Will  someone  please  accept a civic challenge  and  organize  a band during the  next  winter  season,  so  that  it  will  be  ready  to provide concerts  next summer?

  A follow-up editorial entitled   “Fulfillment” appeared in the   Citizen   before the band’s   second performance on Sunday, May 25, 1958. 

A follow-up editorial entitled “Fulfillment” appeared in the Citizen before the band’s second performance on Sunday, May 25, 1958. 

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Today's Band

While our name has changed – we are now “The West Suburban Concert Band”-- over 50 years, 5 directors, the retirement of the last charter member in 2010 and 300 plus members later, the band plays on.  We are very grateful to the musicians who made Mr. Bassman’s civic challenge a reality.