Local news: Notables to dazzle social participants (06/15/22)
Noteables will once again grace the front of Primebank and entertain ice cream attendees on Thursday, June 16. The band is made up of former LCS students, band managers and friends, who play Big Band hits.
LE MARS – The 2022 Primebank Ice Cream Social at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 16, will once again host a reunion of The Noteables, a group of former musicians, band managers and friends of Le Mars Community High School.
The Noteables were a high school scene and jazz band in the 1960s and 1970s, led by longtime LCHS band manager Joe Brice, who returns to lead the band.
Their shirts have the slogan “Grand Finale?” The band first came together in 2000 when they performed for the Le Mars Community Decades of Excellence All Schools 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, handled the local arrangements.
“We started talking about getting together early last fall. Plans started in earnest in October,” Pick said.
In the early years, the reunion music 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 preserve the music at the museum.
“Once we had our playlist, I worked on the music and sent out files to each of the musicians,” Pick explained.
The band members have had the music for over a month.
“All of them love playing so much that I’m sure they worked on all the music,” Pick said. “We all know rehearsal time together is limited, so we need to be as prepared as possible when we’re together.”
The musicians behind the instruments
Brice said rehearsals began at 1 p.m. Tuesday and continue at two Wednesday.
This year’s musicians include:
Sax Section – Jerry Zinn, North Liberty; Don Kehrberg, Swananor, North Carolina; Dr. Jim Schroeder, The March; Lynn Gross, Sioux City; John Schneider, The March; and Jim Schneider, The March.
Paperclips – Vance Shoemaker, Hawarden; Dr. Jim Powell – Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Bruce Frerichs, The March; Paul Warnex, Dexter; and Brad Pick, The March.
Trumpets – Rich Ziettlow, The March; Dave Renken, Urbandale; Mark Ketelsen, Lincolnshire, Ill.; Michel 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, SD; and keyboard, Jim Englebrecht, Rapid City, South Dakota.
Voice: 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 regulars that we will miss this year for one reason or another,” Brice said. These places will be filled by friends and former directors.
As for the music, Brice said audiences will hear some old favorites, as well as new tracks and arrangements shared by the members.
“I can’t wait to meet the guys and get to work,” Brice said. “You know, I’ve been running bands for 65 years. Isn’t that crazy?
A special camaraderie
After all these years of directing, what brings Brice back each time?
“I think it’s a special relationship that has developed with these guys, and the girls as well. We had experiences in the ’60s that I think were unique, and these guys were close. We traveled together, we went out and played balls. I would go check out a bus, fill it up and we’d go,” he shared.
“So they became a very close group, and that stuck. And here we are almost 50 to 60 years later and they’re still ready to come together and do it. I don’t necessarily initiate it, I just tell them, ‘if you’re going to do it, I’ll be there,’” Brice said.
“It’s a unique experience. I’m not sure it’s comparable elsewhere, maybe, but not that I’m aware of,” he continued.
“People have reunions, but after all these years these guys are getting together, reuniting, rehearsing and performing. I think it’s really unique and I think it’s a testament to music as lifelong learning when these people can come together after so many years and still perform well, well in their 70 years old and some of them are almost approaching 80. For me, that’s special,” he said.
“They play in orchestras, they bought new horns, some of them play better now than they did in high school, in orchestras and community groups across the country. It’s a special thing. I wouldn’t miss it,” Brice said.
A special guest
This year’s concert features guest musician Dr. Erich Mahon on trumpet. Mahon teaches and directs the Morningside University Jazz Ensemble.
“I believe one of the group members suggested Dr. Mahon. Steve Collins contacted him and he agreed to play. Dr. Mahon studied with Dr. Steven Wright, who was a guest trumpeter with us when the band last met in 2019,” Pick said.
“We are grateful for Primebank’s support. They are the ones who really make it happen, thanks 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 he didn’t attend. In 2002, he discovered that the group needed a trombone from the organizers, and he gladly accepted the invitation to join the group.
“Playing an instrument can be a lifetime endeavor. I really didn’t play for about 20 years until 2002. I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I started again to play. Since 2002, I’ve had the chance to play with the band every time we’ve gotten together,” Pick said. “I love being part of this band. It’s a thrill when we start playing and I hear that sound and we go into a piece of music. It’s a rush for me to be part of it.
A group community
Brice noted that Le Mars has always been a great group town.
“I became much more aware of it after I left. I thought every city was like that. Not necessarily. There is a lot of tradition of excellence in band music at Le Mars Community that goes back many years before I was there, so I just inherited a very, very good program and a huge pool talent, and a community that has supported the music in a big way. It’s in many ways really unique,” Brice said.
Brice is still in charge of the music scene.
“I still lead three community groups in the Denver area, two concert bands and a jazz band. And I also run what’s called the All Colorado community, which we set up every two years. Then in the summer, we do joint concerts with community groups in Europe.
We did concert tours in Germany and Austria, another in northern Italy and others in Amsterdam and northern Germany. Next year we are planning a tour in France,” he said.
And what about that logo, “Grand Finale?”
“I’m fine, but some of these guys are getting too old to keep doing this,” Brice said.