Mission and Goals
The mission of the Manchester Civic Band is to provide free music for public events in the greater North Manchester, Indiana area.
History and Formation
The Manchester Civic Band was organized in 1972 by Harold and Mary Lou Leckrone and their daughter Pat Egolf. Harold was formerly band director at Manchester Senior High School, and many of his past students were early members of the group (some remain today!). Anyone who has watched the 1986 movie Hoosiers will have heard Harold's original composition The Manchester High School School Song, which was used as the Milan school song. Also, Harold and Louise’s son Michael is approaching forty years as Director of Bands at the University of Wisconsin. The early group performed at a variety of local events and began the tradition of performing at North Manchester’s two retirement homes, Peabody and Timbercrest, every June, September, and December.
The band continues on today with members ranging in age, experience, and musical education. Members work at colleges, factories, public schools, construction sites, asphalt plants, lumberyards, and many are enjoying their retirement years in the band. Assistant Professor of Music Dr. Robert Lynn of Huntington University plays regularly with the band and has appeared as soloist, while new members frequently join after years of having not played a musical instrument.
Beyond the six annual concerts at local retirement homes, the band performs an annual downtown concert at Silver Lake Days, plays up to the lighting of fireworks at Manchester University's Fourth of July celebration, and entertains visitors to Doude’s Apple Orchard in October. The band performs a lot of classic band music not heard anywhere else, as well as newer arrangements. From John Philip Sousa to Duke Ellington, from R.B. Hall to Herb Alpert, from marches to swing, the band strives to entertain all.
Director Sam Howard
Samantha “Sam” Howard is the third director of the Manchester Civic Band. She began playing flute in 5th grade at Triton in Bourbon, Indiana. By the time she graduated from high school she had played 6 instruments (flute, E-flat alto, French horn, baritone, percussion and keyboards) trying to help cover parts in a 15 member band. She auditioned flute and baritone at Purdue University for their concert bands but ended up switching to percussion once again to cover parts. Her “day job” is the Vice President of Administration and Corporate Secretary for Pike Lumber Company, Inc., in Akron, Indiana. In addition to directing the Civic Band, she is the Director of Music at the First United Church of Christ in Bourbon, Indiana where she occasionally still plays flute for special music in addition to the organ for church services. She also serve on the Purdue Bands and Orchestra Advisory Board. Sam and her husband Chuck have helped to establish the Howard Family Big Bass Drum Endowment and Scholarship at Purdue.