'Perfect' weather, 'good turnout' for OSU alumni band concert

Cary Ashby • Jul 30, 2019 at 4:00 PM

Jill Van Dresser was enjoying the music while her four young children and a cousin played in the grass Wednesday at Veterans Memorial Lake Park.

“This is the first time we’ve been out here for the summer,” she said. “This is a great experience and the weather is perfect.” 

Wednesday marked the first time the OSU Alumni Band of Erie County performed during the Norwalk free summer concert series. The nearly 20-member group played many songs fans would hear at an Ohio State University football game, John Phillip Sousa marches and even the theme from the “Rocky” movie series.

Since the Van Dresser family had a free evening, they decided to listen to the band. The mother and her children — daughters Chelsea, 2, Aubrie, 9, and sons Carter, 5, and Blake, 7, — were at Veterans Memorial Lake Park with Van Dresser’s mother, Carolynn Ciersezwski, and sister, Kristin Shullick, both of Norwalk.

“This is a great experience and the weather is perfect,” Van Dresser said.

In the band were several Norwalk musicians: Trumpet players Eric and Robyn Rogers, Robyn’s older sister, Wendy Bauer Reeves (tuba), Norwalk High School band director Will Kish (mellophone) and Dale Hildreth, a drummer with the Give ‘Em Heaven praise band at First United Methodist Church in Norwalk.

Hildreth took over the baton from director Terry Everson to conduct his arrangement of “The High Chaparrel” by David Rose. The percussionist also directed “Amazing Grace.”

Concertgoers enjoyed much more than music. Popcorn was on sale from Gaymont Care & Rehabilitation. Another mainstay this summer was there — Westcott’s Arctic Shaved Ice, manned by owner Jeff Westcott and Norwalk resident Jacob Downey, who was on his first day on the job.

Konner Barr, in his second year as the drum major for the Ohio State University marching band, wowed the crowd with his baton-twirling skills. His godmother, Sheree Trimmer, of Willard, and her grandchildren, Addy Riley, 9, also of Willard, and Gage Sherck, 6, of Monroeville, were part of the large crowd of about 200 people.

“It’s really cool to see everyone come out,” said Barr, of Gahanna, who appreciates having family members see him perform. “Wherever the band travels, we have support.” 

Trimmer has seen Barr twirl at the Huron Boat Basin.

“We’re all just very proud of him. He’s worked very hard for this,” she said. “He does a great job.”

This was Trimmer’s first time attending a concert at the Norwalk reservoir.

“It’s a very nice thing to do. Good turnout,” the Willard woman said.

Tony Schaffer was at the free concert his 2-year-old daughter Rubby and his mother, Jackie. 

“I think marching band music goes back to the mid- to late 1800s and I think it’s a really important facet of American culture and it’s been intimately entwined with American sports for so long. We are such a sports-minded community that I think that’s why people came out in such (large) numbers tonight; it’s because deep down, we are all big fans,” said Schaffer, the assistant director of the Huron County Chamber of Commerce.

The keyboardist and singer for the local funk band Fubbs n’ Chubbs said you can’t go wrong with quality music — whether you’re an OSU fan or not.

“It’s absolutely true,” said Schaffer, who is impressed with the coordination it takes for marching bands, especially larger ones, to put on their shows. “From marching bands to DCI (Drum Corps International), I think it’s a tremendous form of music that is underappreciated.

“The weather is phenomenal. With all the rain we have had this season, we’re very lucky that Mother Nature spared us this time. It wasn’t too hot; it wasn’t raining; it’s a beautiful thing.”

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