BRAZIL, Ind. (WTHI) - Music can unite us and inspire us. Live performances have been noticeably absent from our lives for many months but will soon return to the Wabash Valley. The Brazil Concert Band will be back this holiday weekend.
The Brazil Concert Band is one of the oldest continuous bands in the country. It got its start in the 1850s. Matt Huber is the longest serving band director. He’s leading this legendary band through its second pandemic. It already survived the Spanish Flu in 1918.
Director Matt Huber says, "Any time of history, music has paid a very, very important part. It unifies the people. It gives them something to be happy about and I'm going back with the last pandemic of a hundred years ago where John Philip Sousa and his band, they practiced social distancing and they played here and there all over the country. The Brazil Concert Band performed at the same time and, as far as we're seeing in our records, they spread themselves out as well."
Coronavirus forced the cancelation of the first four concerts of the season. Instead, Huber posted past performances online so people could enjoy them from home.
The concert band is back with its first live performance this weekend. Huber says he has a plan to keep musicians safe and the public entertained. Performers will be spread out on stage. They won’t share music books. Every other bench in the audience will be blocked off. People may also listen from their cars or golf carts.
Huber says the band is ready to be back.
"Ecstatic. Everyone I've talked to, all the people that are coming back, they're so excited because they really missed playing band."
Huber says he typically has 50 to 55 musicians but the number is closer to 40 for this performance.
"I have had about ten to twelve people that, because of ongoing illnesses with family members and things like that, they've chosen not to play this year and we respect their decisions very much so."
Huber says, while some have decided to step away for the time being, another ten people have decided to join the band.
“Back Home Again: A Patriotic Salute” is Sunday, July 5th. The performance begins in Forest Park at 8pm. It will feature Independence Day favorites. The concert will be played in the Pavilion if there is rain.