The Arkansas City Community Band will begin rehearsals next week for its 145th season.

Community members of high school age or older are encouraged to be involved in the band.

“We depend on the members of the community to keep this great American tradition going in our community,” director Chris VanGilder said in a press release on May 20.

“It doesn’t matter if you are a high school or college student, a longtime member of the group or a community member who hasn’t played in a while who wants try their hand at it again — there is a spot for you.”

All rehearsals will take place from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Arkansas City High School band room.

Preseason rehearsals will be on May 24 and May 26.

After the first two, regular rehearsals will be each Tuesday until the end of the season.

The band is supported by the taxpayers of Arkansas City, which provides a small stipend for the musicians and some music.

“Last year, we were blessed to have a newly renovated and expanded stage, new lights, and sound equipment at the (Wilson Park) rotunda, courtesy of the V.J. Wilkins Foundation,” VanGilder said.

The band has a long and proud history of providing live music to the community, and is thought to be the oldest organization of its kind in the country.

Concerts will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays, starting June 2, at the Wilson Park rotunda.

There are a total of six concerts scheduled at the rotunda from June 2 to July 7.

There also will be two special concerts — July 4 at First United Methodist Church and July 11 at Presbyterian Manor.

Concerts are always free and open to the public. Guests are urged to bring their own chairs or blankets.

This year, several local businesses and charitable organizations are working with the band to provide food, drinks, and other special activities in conjunction with each concert.