Ottawa City Band returns for summer concert series

Greg Mast
The Ottawa Herald

The Ottawa City Band concerts are back after taking the 2020 summer off because of the pandemic.

The band will still bring entertainment to patrons each week, but at a different site. The concerts will be each Tuesday from June 1 through July 13 in the parking lot behind the Ottawa Memorial Auditorium, 301 S. Hickory St., in Ottawa. The final concert, July 13, will be inside the air-conditioned OMA, which is celebrating its 100th year.

In case of rain, the concerts will also move inside the OMA. Masks are optional. Patrons are asked to bring their lawn chairs to the parking lot.

All concerts are at 7:30 p.m. The band will also participate in the City of Ottawa’s celebration of the Fourth of July with a concert  at 6 p.m. in Forest Park.

Murle Mordy, Ottawa City Band board chair, said the band members can’t wait to perform this summer.

“We are so relieved that we can finally toot our horns again after a hiatus of one year because of the pandemic,” Mordy said. “We really get a kick out of playing for the community.”

Mark Paquette, who has been the band’s director since 2012, is excited to be back conducting the band.

“This season feels like a new beginning for the Ottawa City Band,” Paquette said. “I am very glad to be back directing the Ottawa City Band.  I am also excited about rehearsing and performing at the Ottawa Municipal Auditorium.”

Paquette tries to find not only music that appeals to the audience but music that both beginners and advanced players can handle.

“I generally have to get music that satisfies both ends, and so the more experienced players are really willing to play music that’s on an easier level at times,” he said.

Rehearsals are held every Monday from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Ottawa Municipal Auditorium. The band consists of musicians of all ages and welcomes new members.

The Ottawa City Band has existed for more than 120 years. Established in 1898, the band is second only to the Lawrence City Band as the longest city band in Kansas, Mordy said.

The first concert will feature the annual favorite “Instant Concert” by Harold Walters — a compilation of many mini tunes within one composition, a lively march by Karl King entitled “Bonds of Unity” and the uplifting tune “Let your Spirit Sing.”

For more information see the Ottawa City Band page on Facebook or contact Murle Mordy, (785) 248-2316.

The concert schedule:

June 1, 8, 15, 22, 29; July 4, (Forest Park, 6 p.m.), 6, 13 (inside OMA).  Ottawa Municipal Auditorium Parking Lot at 3rd and Cedar.