Concert in Arrow Rock to remember muni band stalwart
On Wednesday, Aug. 7, the Historic Arrow Rock Council will once again sponsor the John Emmerson Memorial Concert in memory of one of the most dedicated musicians the Marshall Municipal Band has ever had.
In a 1927 photo of the Marshall Municipal Band, dressed in the first official muni band uniforms, John W. Emmerson is pictured holding the tuba and was noted to be the principal of the bass section. He was 17 years old.
At the band's 50th anniversary Golden Jubilee Concert in May 1971, at Indian Foothills Park - where the band still performs throughout the summer, Emmerson was still playing the tuba.
The new band stand built in the spring of 1971 could accommodate about 100 musicians. At this concert some 58 band members from all walks of life shared their talent and time with the citizens of Marshall.
During the summer season, the band played every Thursday night and had averaged 15 concerts each year since 1934. From 1927 through 1991, Emmerson, born in Marshall but a resident of Arrow Rock nearly all his life, attended rehearsal after rehearsal and played in many concerts.
In 1991 Emmerson, then 81 years old, was honored for his 64 years of dedication and service to the musical organization. But because of his declining health, he wasn't able to play the tuba in the concerts that he loved so the decision was made to "bring the concert to John," according to Kevin Lines, current director of the Marshall Municipal Band.
For the next five years, until his death in February 1996, the band played for him and those who came to Arrow Rock. The sounds of Sousa, Ringwald, Holzmann and other composers became a summer concert tradition in Arrow Rock and in 1996 the concert was formally named in memory of Emmerson by the Historic Arrow Rock Council.
"Now known as the 'John Emmerson Memorial Concert,' families from around the region gather on the lawn of the Huston Tavern to hear the marches, waltzes, medlies and hymns that the band performs," noted Arrow Rock Council member Linda Moore. "It is a gathering much like one in the 19th century, with the pure sounds of woodwind and percussion tracking into the evening air."
Anyone is invited to the free concert, which begins at 5:30 p.m. next Wednesday on the Huston Tavern lawn.
This is the 81st season for the Marshall Municipal Band and the 11th year it has performed in Arrow Rock.
A band from Columbia, the "Happy Days Town Band," will open the concert performance.