Local Arts – Southshore Band at Red Cedar Festival

Southshore Band at 26th Annual Red Cedar Festival of Community Bands

by Thomas Hoyt, Writer

On Saturday, March 4, 2023, was the 26th Red Cedar Festival of Community Bands held in Okemos, MI, just east of Lansing. I had the pleasure of performing at this event with the Southshore Concert Band. We performed 4 pieces of music, which include Nobles of the Mystic Shrine by John Phillip Sousa, Symphonic Dances from “Fiddler of the Roof” arranged by Ira Hearshen, Mountain Thyme by Samuel R. Hazo, and Transcendent Journey by Rossano Galante. The Red Cedar Festival is a band festival for adult community concert bands. 

Red Cedar Festival 2023 flyer

It is not a competition as none of the bands receive any ratings. What we do gain is continuing education as we receive a clinic with a music educator from a university so that we all may improve. There were a total of 11 bands registered to perform, but the first 3 bands had canceled due to winter weather. There were bands from as far away from Okemos as Muskegon and of course St. Joe/Benton Harbor, and the hosting band is Meridian Community Band. I did have the pleasure of listening and watching the Lansing Concert Band.

For me as a musician, I had a very enjoyable and exciting experience! It is said that music is the language of the soul. Indeed I have music in me. This event allows me to open that up and let it out. I rode up to Okemos the day before with fellow band members and we all stayed at a hotel with even more band members. I believe nearly the whole French horn section drove up and stayed at this hotel.

We all even had dinner at a steakhouse, which was right next door to the hotel. Let me tell you, I ate a very nice sirloin steak. We then went back to the hotel and sat in the lobby playing a nifty board game. It really felt like going to a family reunion. Our performance the next day was simply awesome! You can enjoy this performance on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/8WBBNP4W9-4

About The Southshore Concert Band: The Southshore Concert Band was formed in 1992 to provide an opportunity for Berrien County adults to use their musical skills formed in high school and college on a volunteer basis for personal enjoyment. The band membership has grown over the years to include members from northern Indiana as well as other southwest Michigan counties. Membership includes a broad range of professional careers- retired band teachers, current teachers, engineers, accountants, social workers, computer consultants -all playing together to share their common passion for music.

The band provides free concerts at various locations in southwest Michigan during the year. Regular concerts include Winter and Spring concerts at the Lake Michigan College Mendel Center. Additional concerts such as a Halloween Concert, Veteran’s Day Lest We Forget Concert, a collaborative concert with the Pokagon Band of the Potawatomie, and a Pops Concert add wide variety to our seasons. A “Big Band” was also created from members of the Southshore Concert Band to showcase sounds from a great musical time period. Annual summer concerts are played in local community parks and band shells.

The Southshore Concert Band was founded and is conducted by Dale Reuss. The band has a membership of approximately 75 adults. Rehearsals are at Lake Michigan College every Thursday evening from 7 to 9 p.m. during the regular season (except holidays). We welcome new members! If you are interested in joining, please email Dale Reuss at southshoreconcertband@gmail.com. A brief audition will be required.

The organization achieved 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation status in February, 1999. The band relies on member’s dues, grants and public donations to fund its activities. The organization receives no public funds.

Contact: Dale Reuss, Director


Lake Michigan College, Benton Harbor, MI

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