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Donor Stories

La Crosse Concert Band Fund

January 22, 2018

Over the past century, the La Crosse Concert Band has become a beloved entity of the Seven Rivers Region. Each summer it treats the community to lively and diverse music free of charge in the picturesque Riverside Park. Since 1930, musicians have gathered in the Riverside Park bandshell in honor of Dr. Wendell A. Anderson, the founder of La Crosse’s park system and two-time mayor for whom the structure is named. Originally named the La Crosse City Band, the ensemble kicked off with 32 members, who performed 19 concerts around the city in 1931, and remained an all-male band until 1969.

Today the band is a highly professional organization with around 70 members, presenting seven concerts a season. Contributions from La Crosse Concert Band patrons are directed to a permanent endowment fund through the La Crosse Community Foundation. The La Crosse Concert Band Fund assists with annual operating expenses, vehicles to transport equipment, places to rehearse, and in general, ensures the future of the band for many years to come.

When the fund was created in 2003 its goal was to raise $10,000 a year. As people learned the fund was both managed locally and stayed local, The La Crosse Concert Band found it much easier to get donations.

Abbie Leithold-Gerzema, a board member of La Crosse Comcert Band, says “It is such a joy to see three generations of people that come to the concerts in the park and enjoy the music.” With the fund, the La Crosse Concert Band will continue to be a proud symbol of the Seven Rivers Region, bringing free, quality, multi-generational concert music to La Crosse’s beautiful riverfront, and in so doing, providing educational opportunities both for the audience and for student and adult performers.