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Iowa Central Instructors, Alumni Carry on King's Musical Legacy in Fort Dodge

    Emilie Jenson, Public Information Office

For more than 100 years, the Karl L. King Municipal Band has been providing musical entertainment to the Fort Dodge community and beyond.

Another tradition found within the band is the musical connections to Iowa Central Community College among its members. On a recent Sunday evening, eight members with ties to the Iowa Central Music Department, combining more than 125 years of experience, played with the renowned band at the Oleson Park Band Shell.

Dan Cassady, a Triton Hall of Famer and retired Iowa Central band director of 11 years, has been with the King band since 1977.  He presently plays trombone with the band and serves as the assistant conductor.

As a member for 47 years, Cassady said he appreciates the camaraderie of the group and interaction of the crowd.

“There are great people in this band,” said Cassady. “I love the music, the people and seeing the crowd every Sunday.”

Paul Bloomquist, who has served as director of bands at Iowa Central since 2006, started with the King Band as a member of the trombone section in 1997. He moved into the trumpet section for a few years and now plays tuba and serves as the band’s announcer.

Bloomquist said he appreciates the rich history of the band and considers it a “living museum” of King’s musical impact in Fort Dodge and around the world.

“There is such a legacy and heritage here that I think sometimes we take for granted,” said Bloomquist. “In the band world you almost can’t go anywhere without mentioning Fort Dodge and having someone say ‘that’s where Karl King is from,’ and we are proud to be able to say we are members of ‘his’ band.

On the personal side, Bloomquist said it has been the people who have made his experience in the King Band an enjoyable one.

“We’re surrounded by great people here,” he said. “In this band and in the audience. The music, the stories, the jokes, it is all part of the experience.”

Iowa Central Director of Athletic Bands Jeremy Smith is in his 26th season as a percussionist with the band.

Smith was recruited by Reginald Schive, who conducted the King Band from 1977-2003.

“I knew Reggie when I was in Sioux City at Morningside,” said Smith. “He really didn’t even ask, he said to me ‘I heard you are coming to Fort Dodge, you’re going to be in the band.’  I didn’t have a lot of connections to the band then, I came to a few concerts when I was a kid, and I knew it could be hard to get into (the King Band).”

Smith enjoys the summer concerts and the “regulars” who come to Oleson Park every Sunday evening.

“I love the crowd reaction,” he said. “And the people who come recognize you, and you know them. You can see them around town, and they’ll say ‘hey, we’ll see you at the concert on Sunday.’”

Amaia Walsh began playing with the King Band as a member of the trumpet section when she was a student at Iowa Central from 2013-2015. Walsh now serves as an adjunct music instructor at Iowa Central and is in her 10th season with the band.

“It’s an excellent chance to play with amazing colleagues from the music community,” Walsh said of her King Band experience. “I’ve made great connections and met a lot of people through both the King Band and music.”

Kala Thury, a 2014 graduate, also got her start in the band while attending Iowa Central. After graduating, she played with the band occasionally for 10 seasons while teaching band at Moulton-Udell and Webster City and joined the French horn section full-time in 2023.

“I enjoy the time spent playing music with friends and colleagues,” said Thury. “And we love sharing the music with the community.”

Andy Schertz, a 2019 Iowa Central graduate is in his third season with the band. He is part of the saxophone section and teaches band at Newell-Fonda. 

"There's a lot of talent here," said Schertz. "Being part of the King Band is a great opportunity to play music with and learn from great musicians and people who are more experienced than myself."

“The Fort Dodge Community has always been blessed with a rich musical heritage,” said Bloomquist. “The early members of King’s Band, a lot of them were circus band performers who left and became some of the area’s first school band directors and today we are a part of that ongoing legacy.”



Iowa Central Instructors, Alumni Carry on King's Musical Legacy in Fort Dodge

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