Noteables to dazzle social attendees

Wednesday, June 15, 2022
The Noteables will once again grace the front of Primebank and entertain ice cream social attendees on Thursday, June 16. The band consists of former LCS alumni, band directors and friends, who play Big Band hits.

LE MARS — The 2022 Primebank Ice Cream Social at 6 p.m., Thursday, June 16, will once again host a reunion of The Noteables, a group of Le Mars Community High School alumni musicians, band directors and friends.

The Noteables were a high school stage and jazz band during the 1960s and 1970s, directed by Joe Brice, longtime LCHS band director, who returns to direct the band.

Their shirts have the slogan, “Grand Finale?” The group first reunited in 2000 when they played for the Le Mars Community Decades of Excellence All-School Reunion.

They continued with reunions in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2010, 2014 and 2019.

Brad Pick, who plays trombone and is employed at Primebank, has been handling local arrangements.

“We started to talk about getting together early last fall. The plans began in earnest in October,” Pick said.

In the early years, music for the reunions was kept by a band member.

Pick continued, “Steve Collins had worked with Carolyn Vance, the Alumni Association and the Plymouth County Historical Museum to keep the music at the museum. 

“Once we had our play list, I worked through the music and sent folders out to each of the musicians,” Pick shared.

The band members have had the music for over month.

“All of them enjoy playing so much that I am sure they have been working on all of the music,” Pick said. “We all know that rehearsal time together is limited, so we need to be as prepared as we can be when we’re together.”

The Musicians Behind the Instruments

Brice said rehearsals began at 1 p.m., Tuesday, and continue with two on Wednesday.

This year’s musicians include:

Sax section — Jerry Zinn, North Liberty; Don Kehrberg, Swananor, North Carolina; Dr. Jim Schroeder, Le Mars; Lynn Gross, Sioux City; John Schneider, Le Mars; and Jim Schneider, Le Mars.

Trombones — Vance Shoemaker, Hawarden; Dr. Jim Powell – Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Bruce Frerichs, Le Mars; Paul Warnex, Dexter; and Brad Pick, Le Mars.

Trumpets — Rich Ziettlow, Le Mars; Dave Renken, Urbandale; Mark Ketelsen, Lincolnshire, Illinois; Michael Prichard, Le Mars; and Dr. Eric Mahon, Morningside University, guest musician, Sioux City.

Rhythm section: Bass guitar, Jeff Hanson, Le Mars; guitar, Dave Grosenheider, Le Mars; drums, Perry Eckhoff, Tea, South Dakota; and keyboard, Jim Englebrecht, Rapid City, South Dakota.

Vocals: Rebecca Timmins, Apple Valley, Minnesota; Julie Curry Brazil, Remsen; Christy Curry Hoyland, Iowa City; and Sara Curry Stevenson, Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

“There are a few who are regulars that we will be missing this year for one reason or another,” Brice said. Those spots will be filled by friends and former directors.

As far as music, Brice said the audience will hear some old favorites, as well as new pieces and arrangements shared by members.

“I’m looking forward to meeting the guys and getting to work,” Brice said. “You know I’ve been conducting bands for 65 years. Isn’t that crazy?”

A Special Camaraderie

After all those years of directing, what brings Brice back each time?

“I think it’s a special relationship that’s developed with these guys, and the girls too. We had experiences back in the 60s that I think were unique, and these guys were tight. We traveled together, we went out and played proms. I’d go and check out a bus, fill it up and off we’d go,” he shared.

“So they got to be a very close group, and it stayed. And here we are almost between 50 and 60 years later and they still are willing to come together and do this. I don’t necessarily initiate it, I just tell them, ‘if you’re going to do it I’ll be here,’” Brice said.

“It’s a unique experience. I’m not sure it parallels anywhere else, perhaps, but not that I know of,” he continued.

“People have reunions, but after all these years these guys have a reunion, get together, rehearse and perform. I think it’s really unique and I think it’s a testament to music as life-long learning when these folk can get together after that many years and still perform well, well into their 70s and some of them almost approaching 80. To me that’s special,” he said.

“They play in bands, they’ve bought new horns, some of them play better now than they did in high school, in community bands and groups all over the country. It’s a special kind of thing. I wouldn’t miss it,” Brice said.

A Special Guest

This year’s concert features a guest musician, Dr. Erich Mahon on trumpet. Mahon teaches and is in charge of the Morningside University Jazz Ensemble. 

“I believe one of the members of the group suggested Dr. Mahon. Steve Collins reached out to him and he agreed to play. Dr. Mahon studied under Dr. Steven Wright who was a guest trumpet player with us when the group last reunited in 2019,” Pick said.

“We are grateful for the support of Primebank. They are the one who are really making this happen, in large part to the efforts of Brad Pick,” Brice said.

Glad to Be Back

Pick said he wasn’t part of the 2000 reunion, and was disappointed that he didn’t participate. In 2002, he found out the group needed a trombone player from organizers, and he gladly accepted the invitation to join the group.

“Playing an instrument can be a lifelong endeavor. I really didn’t play for about 20 years until 2002. I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I started playing again. Since 2002, I have been fortunate to play with the band every time we have gotten together,” Pick said. “I love being a part of this group.  It’s a thrill when we start to play and I hear that sound and we get into a piece of music. It is a rush for me to be a part of it.”

A Band Community

Brice noted that Le Mars has always been a great band town.

“I became much more aware of that after I left. I thought every town was like this. Not necessarily. There’s a lot of tradition of excellence in band music at Le Mars Community that goes many years before I was there so I just inherited a very, very great program and a huge talent pool, and a community that supported music in a big way. That’s in many aways truly unique,” Brice said.

Staying Involved

Brice still keeps busy in the music scene.

“I still conduct three community bands in the Denver area, two concert bands and a jazz band. And I also conduct what is called the All Colorado Community and that we put together every other year. Then in the summer we do joint concerts with community bands in Europe.

We have done concert tours in Germany and Austria, another in northern Italy, and other in Amsterdam and northern Germany. Next year we are scheduled for a tour in France,” he said.

And what about that logo, “Grand Finale?”

“I’m OK but some of these guys are getting too old to do this anymore,” Brice said.

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