Elkhart Municipal Band members celebrate 65+ years - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Elkhart Municipal Band members celebrate 65+ years

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It's a big year for the Elkhart Municipal Band as they celebrate their 75th anniversary. One thousand performances are under their belt and two members have been along for most of the ride.  

Joyce Gerber joined the Elkhart Municipal Band when she graduated high school, that was 65 years ago. "Music has been my life. I hope I continue for a few more years, I don't know how long."

She started playing in 6th grade when her parents bought her a trumpet for Christmas. "I was determined and I wasn't going to play anything else and I'm still playing!"

The lapel on her uniform is lined with stars, one for every five years as a member of the band. "I don't know what else I would have wanted to do in my lifetime."

Only one member has more stars than Gerber. Betty Kegerreis has played percussion for the band for 70 years.  "You think each year you're going to retire, oh yeah this year, this will be it."

She's still happy to be here. She also joined the band after high school and has been playing ever since. "I love playing drums and as long as they need me, it's a pleasure."

BUT, she says, she still gets nervous. "The butterflies leave the minute you start playing and then it just feels wonderful."

Conductor Dave Swihart says the band wouldn't be the same without its long-standing members. "It's just incredible, like I said, I don't know of any other situation where that's true anywhere."

But for veterans Gerber and Kegerreis, they say THEY'RE the lucky ones. "It just gives you a real good feeling to think 'gee I've been in this band all this time,'" says Gerber.

"This is home and everyone in this band, it's just like a family," says Kegerreis.

If you want to catch these ladies on stage, the Elkhart Municipal Band will begin their free Tuesday performances at McNaughton Park on June 4th.

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