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College Student Solo Competition is November 12

posted Oct 18, 2016, 6:35 AM by Keith Whitford   [ updated Oct 29, 2017, 10:25 AM ]

This adjudicated event includes 12-15 contestants and occurs in mid November. The winner earns a cash scholarship and performs on the annual Winter Concert on February 18th.  The 2016 competition is November 12.  Applications are due November 3.

2017 KPB Collegiate Solo Competition - Info and Application (click on article heading to access this link)


posted Dec 23, 2015, 4:24 PM by Keith Whitford   [ updated Jan 5, 2016, 4:22 PM ]

Members and fans of the KPB are grieving over the recent death of longtime Principal Percussionist, Executive Committee member and good friend Karl Gilbert. He will be remembered for his outstanding musicianship as well as his unique sense of humor. Karl will be greatly missed.  

Read Karl's Obituary


posted Jun 6, 2015, 10:27 AM by Keith Whitford   [ updated Jun 21, 2015, 3:35 PM ]

The Kokomo Park Band began its 113th season of summer concerts at 8PM on Wednesday, June 10th.  We continue to  receive compliments from our recent Winter Concert featuring Barb Hobb’s amazing piano virtuosity on “Rhapsody in Blue,” college solo winner Clara Loisch’s dazzling performance on flute, and the beautiful voice of Sally Duke.  Conductor Jay Gephart’s successful debut appearance as KPB’s Artistic Director promises a bright future for musicians as well as fans in our community.  We are eagerly anticipating to an exciting summer season and look forward to seeing you at Highland Park each and every week.  Please spread the word to help us increase our audience. Features this year include Bill Bowne and the entire French horn section, Charlotte Kunz on piccolo, High School solo winner Jamie Edwards on flute, the Kokomo Park Singers, vocalists Gary Wallyn and Cherissa Lawson, Bill Schmidt on Tuba, Neil Broeker on saxophone, Jennifer Kirkman on bassoon, the Kokomo Men of Note and, of course, the Retired Rum-Runners Dixieland Jazz Band.  Also check out our line-up of guest conductors. Please take a look at the schedule included in this newsletter and perhaps post it on the fridge.  You can find more details on our website and on Facebook as well as in our local newspapers.  

Gephart named KPB Artistic Director

posted Nov 12, 2014, 5:43 PM by Keith Whitford   [ updated Nov 21, 2014, 4:12 PM ]

Jay S. Gephart, Director of Purdue University’s Marching Band and Wind Ensemble, has accepted the position of Artistic Director of the Kokomo Park Band. The vacancy was the result of the recent passing of the previous Artistic Director, Steve Rhodes who conducted the band for over 24 years.  In his acceptance letter to the KPB Board of Directors and Executive Committee, Professor Gephart offered the following statement:
“It is with great pride and honor that I assume the role of Artistic Director of the Kokomo Park Band.  I have had the pleasure of guest conducting this fine group several times throughout my career and I knew, from the moment I stepped on the podium, the band was something very special.  I am convinced now, more than ever, the KPB is one of the most outstanding ensembles of its kind in the country.  I am sure the community of Kokomo takes great pride in the band and I will do everything in my power to provide leadership necessary to maintain a high standard of excellence. 
I want to continue fostering  an environment in which the highest caliber instrumentalists want to participate.  There is currently a wonderful “comradery” in the band and I want to see that grow and flourish.  Current members love playing in the band and you can tell. 
I have the privilege of leading the Department of Bands at Purdue University, where I run a program involving over 750 students each semester.  Our mission is very similar to that of the Kokomo Park Band.  We are keenly aware of the diverse nature of our audiences and program accordingly.  Our concerts at Purdue are very well attended for one simple reason….we play music people want to hear.  Feel confident  I will select music which will appeal to the diverse Kokomo audience just as I do at Purdue.
I am very excited to be part of the Kokomo Park Band family and look forward to our concert on February 22nd with great anticipation.”     
    Conductor Jay S. Gephart joined the faculty of Purdue University in the fall of 1995 after having completed 12 years as a public school band director.  In 2006, he was appointed the Al G. Wright Chair of University Bands and Orchestras and currently serves as Director of the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band & the Purdue University Wind Ensemble.   Professor  Gephart received a Master of Music Degree in Performance with High Distinction from Indiana University in 1988. He has since served as a guest conductor, clinician, lecturer and adjudicator both nationally and internationally. 
    Professor Gephart has traveled most recently with his various Purdue ensembles to Beijing, China prior to the Olympics and to the  New York Wind Band Festival at Carnegie Hall.  He has conducted various All-State Bands and has served as a clinician at the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago.   In his career he has been the recipient of many awards and honors including the Indiana Outstanding Bandmaster Award and the Purdue University New Professional Award. Gephart has served as President of the Big Ten Band Director’s Association and currently holds the position of Treasurer of the John Philip Sousa Foundation.   He is on the board of the National Band Association, was elected to membership in the prestigious American Bandmaster’s Association and has served as President of the Indiana Bandmaster’s Association.

Rhodes served as KPB Music Director for 24 years.

posted Apr 7, 2014, 1:26 PM by Park Band   [ updated Jun 20, 2014, 7:12 PM by Keith Whitford ]

Steve Rhodes served as the Music Director of the Kokomo Park Band from 1989 until March of this year.   Before stepping up to the podium, he served in the band as a trombone and euphonium player and was actively involved in the incorporation of the organization.   His function in the band went well beyond what was seen by the public.   Not only did Steve carefully plan each program, but he also custom arranged hundreds of selections to render them more effective for the audience and more suitable to the size, instrumentation, and specific players in the KPB.   He also helped to line up guest artists and to recruit musicians who traveled up to 90 miles to play under his baton.  Steve was highly respected and in great demand as a musician, arranger and band leader throughout Indiana and beyond.   More importantly, he was a personal friend and mentor to the majority of those performing on the Highland Park Stage this summer.   While providing challenging material for the musicians, Mr. Rhodes was always devoted to pleasing the audience who were like family to him.   It was largely through his efforts that KPB concerts progressed from moderately attended  local events to popular regional attractions with audiences typically exceeding 1000 people.  This summer, our entire Concert Season of 2014 is dedicated to the memory of “The Maestro” Steve Rhodes, to whom we as a band and as a community are strongly indebted and deeply grateful.  

Memorial gifts may be sent to the Kokomo Park Band, P.O. Box 6039, Kokomo, Indiana 46904-6039 and to Visiting Nurses Service Foundation, Inc., c/o Abbie Hunt Bryce Home, 4760 Penwood Drive, Indianapolis, Indiana 46205.

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