Five for Five Seasons is a periodic listing of five items somehow related to Cedar Rapids –- the City of Five Seasons. The fifth season? Why, time to enjoy the other four, of course!
The Cedar Rapids Municipal Band is entering its 67th season, and over that period it has only had a handful of conductors. Here’s a list of five folks who have waved the baton since 1951.
1) Roland L. Moehlmann, 1951-1967
Moehlmann arrived in Cedar Rapids in 1929 as the second full time instrumental music teacher hired by the community school district. While teaching, he was pushed down a flight of stairs by a student, suffering a back injury that would eventually force him to give up directing the band he founded.
2) Conductor by Committee, 1968-1970
A series of guest conductors headed the band for a few years. Among the most notable was Bob Sadilek who has been in the Municipal Band for nearly all of its existence. Sadilek, a trombonist, taught band at McKinley Junior High/Middle School for 35 years.
3) Frank Piersol, 1971-1993
Piersol was a legendary band director who served as director of the Iowa State University Band for 19 years and the University of Iowa Band for 13 years. In 2001, he composed “Celebration March” to mark the 50th anniversary of the band.
4) Morgan Jones, 1994-2010
Jones was director of the Hawkeye Marching Band during some of the band’s most memorable and acclaimed years. He pursued the Municipal Band job in part because he knew how much Piersol had enjoyed conducting the band.
5) Steve Shanley, 2011-present
Shanley, a respected educator, composer, arranger and performer, is an assistant professor of music at Coe College. Under his leadership, the band has maintained its high performance standards while expanding the locations in which it performs each summer.
You can read more about each conductor on the Municipal Band’s website as well as check out their season schedule. You might also consider learning the words to the Cedar Rapids Song of Dedication — sung at the end of each performance by the featured vocalist and the audience.