This week's Art Talk Monday is written by John Emory, Jr., Board President for the Dixie Center for the Arts. Be sure to attend this wonderful annual concert this weekend! There’s music in the air in downtown Ruston as we gather for great performances on June 21 and 22. From Railroad Park to Dixie Center for the Arts entertainment is “Peachy Keen” at the 2013 Louisiana Peach Festival. It’s easy to find just what you’re looking for as you soak up the sights and sounds. There’s truly something for everyone.
The revitalization of downtown Ruston is a great backdrop for events that are sure to be crowd pleasers. A favorite of festival goers has always been the Russ-Town Band. The 52 piece community band will present its annual performance June 22, at 2:00pm inside the theater of Dixie Center for the Arts, 212 North Vienna.
Lawrence Gibbs, the band's conductor, has put together a show that features old favorites and new selections that are sure to add excitement to the event. Gibb’s, known for his unique performances, has raised the bar on this show, “In addition to Patriotic selections, we will play a salute to the Beatles “Abby Road – A Symphonic Portrait” to commemorate their 50th anniversary.” Gibbs also noted, “The concert is free but we would like to ask for donations to support the Dixie yod help recover some of the cost of providing the theater for the Russ-Town Band.”
The history of the Russ-Town Band is a colorful one that began in 1994. That summer a group of local friends with a passion for music got together after recognizing the need for a professional quality musical ensemble in Ruston. That group included Lawrence Gibbs, Associate Director of Bands Louisiana Tech University. After looking at many possibilities, the friends decided to form the Russ-Town Band. As the band was coordinated, the late Oscar Barnes, Jr. was asked to serve as conductor. At the time, Barnes was retired from directing the Ruston High School band. Barnes agreed and conducted the band for nearly ten years.
The band has become a prominent fixture in Ruston’s music scene. The members come from all walks of life and serve on a strictly volunteer basis. During the early years concerts were played at Ruston’s Railroad Park. Since 1996 concerts have been a highlight of programming at the Dixie. The bands contribution to the cultural and musical environment of North Central Louisiana been enormous. Help us welcome the Russ-Town Band back to the Dixie on Saturday, June 22 at 2PM. Come in, sit back, cool off and lose yourself in the music of the Russ-Town Band on Saturday, June 22 at 2PM. You’ll be glad you did.