FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – After 16 months away from the stage, the Fort Wayne Area Community Band is back to perform together again at 7:30 PM this Tuesday at Foellinger Outdoor Theatre.

The pandemic put a pause to the music after the band’s concert at Purdue Fort Wayne in March 2020. With the distancing guidelines and capacity restrictions that were put in place, board members opted against rehearsing and risking exposure to the virus. The band has been a part of the community for over 40 years and there was real concern the musicians would not come back.

That all changed after restrictions were loosened within the past few months. After a series of virtual board meetings, the board agreed to reconvene the band at a new rehearsal space: a parking garage at Purdue Fort Wayne. The space allowed the band members to be outdoors and spread out.

The band rehearses in a parking garage at Purdue Fort Wayne

The music returned on Tuesday, May 18, in the parking garage. Assistant Conductor Sue Jehl says “it was like Christmas, birthday, and 4th of July all rolled into one.” 67 members returned that night and everyone was thrilled to be back rehearsing after 14 long months.

It was a very special moment to Jehl. “Music isn’t something we just do…it’s a part of us. And to have that part of you missing for 14 months just left this big empty hole. And to be back together again was just beyond words.”

Assistant Conductors David Blackwell and Sue Jehl are reunited again

It was a bit of an adjustment for everyone to get used to the echo of the space, but the musicians did not miss a beat. Over the past few weeks, the membership has returned to near pre-pandemic levels and they now have full instrumentation for Tuesday’s concert. The band was even allowed to return indoors to their previous rehearsal space earlier this month.

Admission to Tuesday’s concert is free. The theme for the concert is “Together Again.” The band will be performing a variety of music, including marches, light classics, light opera, and a salute to Dick Clark.

Another photo of the band rehearsing in the parking garage

If you cannot make it Tuesday, the band will be performing at Foellinger Theatre again on Tuesday, August 10, at 7:30 PM. The theme of this concert is “Music for a Summer Night.” The band is also scheduled to perform on Saturday, July 17, at 8:00 PM at Friemann Square before and during the closing fireworks of the Three Rivers Festival. 

If you would like to learn more or are interested in joining the band, check out the band’s website or Facebook page.