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Band plays for fun and love of the music

Some things are just as important as getting paid. The musicians of the Talk of the Town Swing Band play for the fun and love of the music, according to director Josh Brooks.

Started about seven years ago, Brooks said the swing band was an offshoot of the Indian Valley Community Band. The first director was Paul Rossok who “got the group organized and on its feet,” Brooks said.

“I came in about four or five years ago as a tromobonist. After a couple of years, Paul was ready to retire and so I stepped up and took over,” Brooks said. Also a junior high school choir director, Brooks is the “closest thing to a music professional in the band. None of us are performing professionals.

“Most of us are musicians who picked up our horns after several years of letting dust collect on them thinking it would be fun to play again.”

The band consists of 14 musicians and four vocalists that share microphone time. After several gigs at the Fox Valley Community Center in Sandwich, the band has moved to the Leon Burson American Legion Post in Plano for its monthly dances.

From 4 to 6 p.m. the first Sunday of the month, the public is invited to listen and dance to the Talk of the Town Swing Band at the Legion, 510 E. Dearborn St., Plano.

Second trumpet player Jeff Ellis said he played in high school and one year in college before deciding there wasn’t enough time in the day. After moving to Somonauk, he discovered the community band and decided to warm up his horn.

“It had probably been 20 years since I played; maybe even longer. It seemed easy at first,but got harder the more I played,” Ellis said with a laugh.

“I was not in band in high school,” said drummer Cathy Owens. She said she started with accordion lessons at the age of 7. She went on to play the piano and drums.

“Then I didn’t play for 30 years. I was busy with kids, keeping house, working as a nurse and being married to a farmer,” Owens said. When the kids were grown, Owens said a neighbor suggested she join the band.

“We each have our stories,” she said.

“You can play to your level in a community band. I highly recommend, if you want to play again, getting into a community band,” Ellis said.

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