The Story of "Three President's Band"

(and how it came to be)

Scenario: Autumn, 1995. It was a cold day. Make that a very cold, dreary, October day unfit for outdoor musical performances. Musicians shivered in sub-zero wind chill gusts; brass horns tended to freeze-up; frostbit fingertips were sluggish on wooden clarinets which risked cracking; the director used farm gloves when conducting; icy air put the accordion in the key of B while the rest of the band was in B-flat so tune-ups were nearly impossible. Even so, anticipation mounted by the minute and chilled the blood less colder. Not one, not two but three presidents were coming to address the crowd gathered outside of the brand new National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids for the dedication ceremony!

Finally President Clinton arrived representing the United States as did President Vaclav Havel of the Czech Republic and President Michal Kovac from the Slovak Republic. That day the Czech Village, Cedar Rapids, the state of Iowa and even the United States was musically represented by one band- the Czech Plus Band- in other words, Three Presidents' Band! We were proud to be a part of this slice of history. You now know the story.

Later that evening, tuxedos replaced traditional dress and the band was streamlined to 10 members ("After Five" Ensemble) to accompany the fine dining atmosphere. A variety of internationally-acclaimed quality entertainment was the venue and Cesky pivo was salve for sore lips. It was a slice of history with Czech brass band music by the Czech Plus Ensemble.


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