Outdoor summer concerts is an 80 year tradition that began the first summer (1921) after Karl King arrived in Ft. Dodge. Each summer concert draws an estimated crowd of around 1000 folks who come out to show their appreciation, to enjoy the evening, to reminisce, and to hear the band play on.
The Karl King Band performs most concerts with an instrumentation of 40-45 musicians from a list of 80-90 players (regulars and substitutes). Two thirds of the members are from out of town, with most living within a 30 mile radius. A few come quite a distance (Ames, Des Moines, and Sioux City). Many members are band directors, but many other occupations are represented. Most members have been in the band a long time; the majority have been playing for over 20 years. There are senior members who have been with the band 30, 40, or even over 50 years.
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We make an effort to include young people from Ft. Dodge and the surrounding area who show promising talent or who are pursuing music as a career. The band wants to encourage young people so that the supply of musicians continues, says Duane Olson, the band's personnel director.
Rehearsals are conducted for two hours on the afternoon of the concert. The band practices the music for that evening and also looks ahead to the pieces selected for the following week. If a solo is needed or a section of the band is to be featured, music is copied and sent home with the musicians in order to allow for extra rehearsal time. Many of the young folks will take the music home ahead of time to look at particularly difficult sections. They want to be prepared. We all take our job and the music seriously. Our unofficial motto is to have fun, but in an organized manner.
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