The Ark City Community Band will begin its 146th season of free public concerts at 7:30 p.m. June 1 under the Wilson Park rotunda. This is the first of eight concerts planned this summer.

The first concert will have an “All-American” theme. Some park benches are available, but concert-goers may wish to bring lawn chairs for comfort or a blanket to sit in the grass.

During the past couple of seasons, the band — led by board members Robert Ferris and Melodie Parman — has initiated several changes to try to bring back the “old-time” atmosphere of the concerts. Thanks to many generous sponsors, each of the six concerts that will be held at Wilson Park will have free hot dogs, chips, and drinks provided for concert-goers and band members.

“We are really trying to give the public a little slice of a simpler time, when people came together in the park to enjoy an evening together,” said community band director Chris VanGilder.

“The businesses that have come forward to sponsor the food and drinks, along with the continued support of the City of Arkansas City, have been truly a blessing.”

On a special note, the June 15 concert will feature special guests — the 35th Infantry Division Band of the Kansas National Guard.

The community band will open the concert at 7 p.m., but quickly will turn it over to the Guard band, which will present an outstanding line-up of patriotic music in honor of all of veterans and their families.

“We really hope the people of Ark City fill up the park for this concert,” VanGilder said. “They are a truly outstanding ensemble and we hope to show support for all of those that have served our country.”

Following is a list of sponsors for each concert this summer and any special guests that will be featured:

June 1

  • Sponsors — The Trust Company of Kansas and Coca-Cola
  • Guests — Arkansas City Area Arts Council and Burford Theatre Restoration Project

June 8

  • Sponsors — RCB Bank and Coca-Cola
  • Guests — Arkansas City Relay for Life

June 15

  • Sponsors — Cox Communications and Coca-Cola
  • Guests — Spencer-Ralston VFW Post 1254, Shelton Beaty American Legion Post 18 and City of Arkansas City

June 22

  • Sponsors — Skyline Corp. and Coca-Cola
  • Guest — to be determined

June 29

  • Sponsors and guests — Arkansas City Area Chamber of Commerce, Arkansas City Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Coca-Cola

July 4

  • Sponsors — First United Methodist Church and Coca-Cola

July 6

  • Sponsors — Rogers Family Dentistry and Coca-Cola
  • Guests — Arkansas City Habitat for Humanity

July 10

  • Sponsor — Arkansas City Presbyterian Manor

Secondary sponsors of this summer’s concerts include Keefe Printing, Olen Medical, Samford Stover Agency, Waldorf-Riley and Woods Lumber, with other donations still coming in.

As a special treat this summer, Pam Hess, from Pam-a-lou’s Diner at Graves Drug, is donating a pie to give away each week.

This information was provided by Ark City Community Band Director Chris VanGilder.