Waukegan Band summer beach concerts return in full force; ‘The music, the environment, the lake all help bring people together here’


No cost live shows by the Waukegan Band turned a staple of summertime all through the Great Depression in 1936, and it took the coronavirus pandemic to halt the string of performances together Lake Michigan in 2020.

On Tuesday, the ensemble was back in entire power.

Even though there was a limited series last summer season, for numerous of the typical concertgoers and musicians it was not the identical simply because people today remained cautious.

The Waukegan Band opened its comprehensive 7-live performance summer months series of absolutely free performances Tuesday at the Stiner Pavilion at the Waukegan Beach front, restoring an 86-12 months custom for a lot more than 200 folks most of whom introduced their folding chairs to the lakefront.

“This is incredible,” mentioned Music Director Mark Taylor. “The environment is wonderful. There is a gentle breeze. We have been ready for this for a extended time.”

Getting spot on the 1st working day of summer with 92-degree temperatures when the live performance began, there was much more heading on at the beach than music. Just north of the Stiner Pavilion is a seaside which is about a mile very long.

As folks were arranging their chairs on the garden for the start off of the 7:30 concert, others have been even now on the beach front sensation the breeze, playing volleyball and grilling foods. David Motley, the city’s general public relations director, believed the seashore crowd at 2,000.

Waukegan Mayor Ann Taylor, a normal at the live shows for 20 a long time there with her spouse, claimed anything came jointly on the initially day of summertime. There was an air of normalcy lacking for extra than two several years when the pandemic kept individuals aside and forced cancellation of situations.

“This is what currently being a community is all about,” Taylor, who is not connected to the songs director, claimed. “This is the definition of summer time. I like listening to the songs. Folks are out and about and having fun with it all.”

Jane Waller, a lifelong Waukegan resident and retired Lake County choose, has been a common for at the very least the last 15 years. She claimed she welcomes a return to normalcy after the effect of the pandemic for additional than two a long time.

Like the mayor, Waller claimed she considers the concert events are a staple of summertime in Waukegan in a surrounding which is exclusive for the reason that of its placing by Lake Michigan and sense of local community.

“The new music, the environment, the lake all assistance carry individuals with each other here,” Waller reported. “It’s a likelihood to see persons and meet aged buddies.”

For band members like clarinetist Donna Torkelson, who is in her 44th period, David Johnson on the trombone who begun in 1988 and Brittany Torkelson, Donna’s daughter — who commenced at 15, is in her 17th time and doubling on trumpet and French horn — it was also unique.

Johnson’s father performed in the band prior to him. Donna Torkelson’s grandfather and Brittany’s terrific grandfather, Joey Kutzler, was a person of its founders and a percussionist. They are carrying on a band custom into the 3rd and fourth generation of participants. Donna Torkelson mentioned her dad and mom ended up not musicians.

“I’m incredibly very pleased to be component of a little something my grandfather started and I can be aspect of it,” Donna Torkelson claimed. “It’s interesting that he started off it and I’m taking part in in it with my daughter. I’m pleased to be able to enable it retain likely.”

“It’s very neat I can do this with my mother,” Brittany Torkelson additional.

Johnson said in the course of the intermission he was experience good about the live performance and working experience. Right before Taylor commenced moving his baton, that was not the scenario for Johnson. Like often, he was nervous.

“I’m sensation relief,” Johnson mentioned during intermission. “I normally have some butterflies before the functionality. The moment we start to enjoy, I experience reduction. Becoming below is a treasure.”

Concerts will go on each and every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Stiner Pavilion by Aug. 9.


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