'And The Band Plays On' - DeKalb Municipal Band Continues Its Season

Jul 30, 2020

Some northern Illinois residents felt a sense of normalcy as they enjoyed live music at the park. A city band continued its 166th season with a few changes.

The sun was starting to set in Hopkins Park as the DeKalb Municipal Band filled the air with sweet melodies Tuesday evening.

Kirk Lundbeck conducting the band.
Credit Yvonne Boose

Kirk Lundbeck is the conductor of the band. He said as soon as Illinois went into Phase 4, he started working hard to put the season together.

“This is something that has been near and dear to my heart for over 45 years,” he explained. “I’m not going to walk away now and I’m not going to stop the seasons from happening.”

He said precautions were taken due to the pandemic.

“The audience has been reduced to 20% capacity as accordance to the COVID rules and all the seats are marked and reserved each week,” he said.

He also said the band was socially distanced and wore masks unless they were playing an instrument.  

Lundbeck said he is thankful for the many community donations that made this possible.

“We do this for them. So that’s why we’re here,” he said.

Nuala Benisek has attended the concerts with her children for the past six years. She admitted that she was worried the performances wouldn’t happen.

“But Kirk promised that there was going to be some way that the band would play on,” she shared. “So, we knew that we’d have at least one. And we were disappointed but we understand it’s like everything.”

Benisek said Lundbeck made her son Andrew an honorary band member.

“He gave him an official jacket and he wears it when he comes to the concerts,” she said.

Spencer Mackey plays the trombone for the band.

He said he was thrilled when he found out the concert season was taking place.

“I was pretty excited because these are one of my favorite events I like to go to. And being a part of the band is even better.”

Mayor Jerry Smith was also in attendance. He spoke to the crowd, calling the Municipal Band one of the “treasures” of DeKalb. He said the Egyptian Theatre, along with the local health department, the park district and the City of DeKalb, helped make this season happen.      

More concerts will take place Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. through Aug. 18. Tickets are free, but must be reserved through DeKalb County Tickets.  

  • Yvonne Boose is a 2020 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.