Services & Professionals
Celebrating 132 years of consecutive concert seasons
Norman Jones, president and emcee of Lee County Community Band since 1980, likes to tell the story of how local musicians formed a community band one year before Fort Myers even became an official city. That was in 1885.
“A young man decided that the town needed a town band, so he convinced the 340 residents at that time to purchase 14 instruments,” Jones explains. “One of the patrons offered the fledgling band her living room for rehearsals, but the noise was too much for the local neighborhood to bear. The band was then moved out on a long pier in the middle of the Caloosahatchee River for practice.”
Jones describes the new band’s practice location as the place and time where the music finally started. Because soon after that, the Seminole Lodge invited the band to perform for Mina and Thomas Edison. And the rest, as they say, is history—all 132 consecutive years of it.
Made up of musicians from all walks of life, both professional and amateur, the band’s mission is to entertain the local community and to honor its long, iconic legacy. Richard Bradstreet has been a member since 1979 and is the current director. He notes, “We strive to continue the tradition of playing good band music that is enjoyable for our audiences as well as enjoyable for our musicians to play. We try to play a wide variety of music and we work each year to become the best band we can possibly be.”
Susan Rayman is in charge of band programs and publicity. She understands that teamwork keeps the band moving in the right direction: “It’s gratifying to work with other band members to produce a great sound that our audience truly appreciates. Our success comes from having a talented director, a terrific emcee and capable musicians who work well together.”
Lee County Community Band appreciates the community’s loyal and generous support. Concerts are free and donations are welcome. Information is available at leecountyband.org.