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College Student Solo Competition is November 12

posted Oct 18, 2016, 6:35 AM by Keith Whitford   [ updated Apr 2, 2018, 4:17 PM ]

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 Apr 2, 2018, 4:17 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

Gephart named KPB Artistic Director

posted Nov 12, 2014, 5:43 PM by Keith Whitford   [ updated Apr 2, 2018, 4:18 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.

Maestro Steve Rhodes

posted Jun 20, 2014, 7:09 PM by Keith Whitford

Maestro Steve Rhodes, 60, died in Indianapolis on Sunday, March 16 at the Abbie Hunt Bryce Home.  He was a talented professional trombonist and euphonium player, outstanding conductor, gifted music arranger and close friend and mentor to hundreds of musicians in Indiana.  Originally from Peru, Indiana, he was born on September 19, 1953 to Richard M. and Rosemary Rhodes.  He is survived by his mother and by his sister and brother-in-law, Susan and Brendan Fox.   Steve attended Indiana University in Bloomington where he studied history and music.  He also served as an announcer for IU’s radio station, WFIU and helped develop the format for the classical music quiz show “Ether Game”.  Steve moved to New York City where he worked as a copy editor for a publishing company which produces numerous magazines including the New Yorker. While there, he participated in various musical activities including the New York Recorder Ensemble.  When he moved back to Indiana, he worked as a paralegal at his father's law office and later attended Ball State University pursuing a music performance degree. Steve performed for five seasons as trombonist with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra and for over twenty years was the principal trombone in the Kokomo Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Rhodes performed with touring orchestras of noted entertainers Henry Cuesta, Frankie Lain and Kaye Starr and has played in numerous dance bands including frequent tours with the legendary Guy Lombardo Orchestra.

Mr. Rhodes began his conducting career by leading a local community presentation of "Carousel” while still a student at Peru High School under the legendary music director James Noble.  He has since served as music director for numerous musical theater productions including conducting "Hello Dolly" and "South Pacific" for the Kokomo Civic Theater. In 1989, he was named Music Director of the Kokomo Park Band serving in that position for the past 24 years. He has been the conductor of the Old Crown Brass Band in Ft. Wayne, Indiana and been the leader of the historical Bluffton Street Fair Band for over 20 years.

Mr. Rhodes was widely respected as a musical arranger. His music arrangements have been played by major Indiana symphony orchestras from Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Elkhart, Richmond, Muncie, Lafayette and Kokomo.  In addition to arranging music for the Kokomo Park Band, he was also arranger for the Indiana Wind Symphony.    His arrangements for marching and concert band have been programmed by numerous high school, college and community bands throughout the Midwest, as well as by the U.S. Army Band and by the Princess of Wales' Royal Regimental Band in England.

 With an avid interest in music history and musicology, Mr. Rhodes was also an articulate musical spokesperson. He frequently gave presentations at "Words on Music", the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra's series of pre-concert commentary sessions and for many years was a regular panelist on WFYI's "The Listening Room", the weekly classical music review and discussion program of Indianapolis' National Public Radio affiliate.

Rhodes served as KPB Music Director for 24 years.

posted Apr 7, 2014, 1:26 PM by Park Band   [ updated Apr 2, 2018, 4:17 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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