Local jazz band reunites for Le Mars celebrations

Local News

LE MARS, Iowa (KCAU) — They became a band 60 years ago, and though it’s been a while, the band is back together. “The Noteables” will be playing as part of Le Mars’ Ice Cream Social. 

It’s been five years since the Noteables last got together, but they seemed to pick up right where they left off. While they don’t play together as often as they used to, it’s pretty clear that they enjoy it when they do. 

“It’s almost an out-of-body experience for me to be able to connect with former students after 50 years,” said Joe Brice, the former band director.

The Noteables jazz band formed in 1959, under the direction of band director Joe Brice.

“We would play dances around the area school proms when I was there in the ’60s, we would have a school bus and Joe would drive the school bus to the gig,” said Steven Collins, the lead alto saxophone in the band.

The band brought jazz to Le Mars until 1974 and did not reunite until 26 years later.

“I quit playing my sax for 25 years. The first chord we played in rehearsal, I said, “Ugh I have been missing this. And I think many other people in the band had that same reaction,” said Collins. 

“It was kind of a magical experience to hear that sound again,” said Jim Powell, the bass trombonist. 

Since 2000, the band has played nine times and on Thursday, after 5 years, will perform again, in celebration of Le Mars’ 150th anniversary. 

“Most of these kids marched in the centennial parade, which was 1969, and now of course, here we are 150 years,” said Brice.

“It’s a really amazing thing to get together again and see old friends,” said Powell. 

Some band members say this could be the band’s last performance. They say, after all, they’re in their 70s now.  

The concert is set for Thursday night in downtown Le Mars from 6 to 8 p.m. 

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