MASON CITY — Today is the 120th anniversary of the birth of “The Music Man” Meredith Willson. In honor of his birthday, North Iowa Band Festival royalty and drum majors from Mason City and Newman Catholic high schools visited Willson’s memorial in Elmwood Cemetery this morning.
Will Read is the junior drum major for the Mason City High School band and says Willson is always regarded highly by the high school musicians in the community. “It’s one of the most important parts of our city and obviously we have a parade every year to celebrate it. I know our band is out practicing ‘76 Trombones’ getting ready for the parade, so it’s nice to come here and give him a little recognition before we have a full celebration in the parade.”
Anna Floden is the drum major for the Newman Catholic High School band. Floden says she was honored to be part of the gravesite decorating ceremony this morning. “It means a lot to me. Meredith Willson was a huge flute player, and as a flute player, it’s an honor to play the music that he wrote for us, so it’s a great achievement to play that.”
Floden says she enjoys watching “The Music Man”. “It has nostalgia. We watched it as young kids in elementary school, and now we’re able to watch it as older kids, so it’s a great thing to revisit every year.”
Music Man Square is also celebrating Willson’s birthday later today from 5:00-9:00 PM with live music, kids activities, a screening of the 1962 movie “The Music Man”, as well as free cake and popcorn.