Summer is in full swing in Laramie, which means the Laramie Municipal Band is back in action.
Led by director Bob Belser, the band plays free weekly concerts at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays at the Washington Park Edgar J. Lewis Bandshell. Concerts are scheduled to run through July 31.
Belser, who has directed the band since 2007, said the repertoire includes marches, medleys from musicals and films and other nostalgia-invoking selections for those with any band experience in their past.
“It’s summer-in-the-park-type music,” he said.
Like other long-standing Laramie institutions, the Laramie Municipal Band is closing in on its 150th anniversary, as it was established in about 1871.
The band draws musicians from the Laramie community and the University of Wyoming, as well as surrounding areas. Musicians rehearse once a week in advance of each concert.
“It’s not a whole lot of preparation, and it’s amazing what the players do,” Belser said.
The band, sponsored by the city of Laramie, is limited to 42 members because that’s about how many players can fit on the bandshell stage.
The Municipal Band performs only during the summer, but many musicians transition into the Laramie Community Band, which performs several times during the academic year. Belser said the continuity of rehearsals and extra opportunities to play have helped the group continue to improve over the years.
“I feel like the band keeps getting better and better each year,” he said.
Belser said he gets frequent comments from visitors and residents alike expressing their enjoyment of the summer concerts.
“I think it’s appreciated by a lot of people, and it’s a way to get out and have an enjoyable evening away from TV,” he said.
For him, the band is part of the community fabric that makes Laramie a special place to live.
“Even when there are opportunities to leave, we don’t because of the community, and part of that is what we do civically throughout,” he said.