Municipal Band - Crowd

The Municipal Band plays before a crowd at a 2010 concert at Bandshell Park.

The Ames Municipal Band’s summer concert series will return to the Durham Bandshell in Bandshell Park Thursday night.

The first show of the season will commence at 7 p.m. with opening performances from the Heart of Iowa Senior Band. Opening performances usually last around 45 minutes.

Following the senior band, the Ames Municipal Band will perform for one hour alongside vocal soloist Emil Polashek. The event is free to the public and features free drinks. Blankets or chairs are recommended for seating.

The event occurs every Thursday in the months of June and July. For the past 17 years, world-renowned bass-baritone Simon Estes has joined the band for one concert in the series. Estes will be the vocal soloist at the June 13 show this year.

During the series, the band will perform a variety of styles of music, from marches to Broadway hits. To accompany the variety in styles, there is also a variety of guests that perform — including vocal and instrumental soloists, guest conductors and dancers.

Estes has been performing on the concert series for as long as Michael Golemo has been director. Golemo serves as the director of bands at Iowa State University and was elected into the American Bandmasters Association in 2007. Golemo booked Estes in his first year as director, and it has since become a tradition for Estes to perform.

Estes belts it out

Opera star Simon Estes performs during a guest appearance at a 2012 Ames Municipal Band concert at the Durham Bandshell.

“It’s probably the highlight of the season,” Golemo said. “He’s such a professional and an icon and a true legend. It’s inspiring to have someone of that talent, and I think the community really looks forward to it, the band members do too.”

Joining the band as director in 2003, Golemo has worked with countless musicians in his career.

“It’s been a wonderful experience to perform with so many great musicians,” Golemo said. “Many of them have been in the band for many years and we also have young musicians. I think it’s a good reflection of the community. They’re all dedicated, talented and terrific musicians.”

According to the Ames Historical Society, the Ames Municipal Band started in 1877 as the Ames Cornet Band. In 1910, the Ames Cornet Band started to put on regular shows at what is now Bandshell Park. The group rebranded to its current name in 1924. After being incorporated in 1925, the Ames Municipal Band has continued to what it is today.

Ames 150 Historical Photos

The Ames Municipal Band performs in the bandshell during the 1930s.

In addition to the band’s weekly concerts, they perform during the annual Memorial Day ceremonies and march in the Fourth of July parade.

Detailed itineraries of future concerts are available at or on the Ames Municipal Band’s Facebook page.

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