Uniting groups could help make beautiful music

The proposed combination of Dixon’s municipal band and a local arts commission has much to offer. We urge city council members to give the idea their blessing.

Published: Friday, Nov. 30, 2012 1:15 a.m.CDT

What do you get when you combine the Dixon Municipal Band and the Sauk Valley Arts and Culture Commission?

Drum roll, please.

You get the Dixon Municipal Band Commission for the Arts.

That cobbled-together name might sound a bit odd, but if the Dixon City Council gives its approval, the group it represents could go a long way toward preserving the city band.

The proposed combination has several things going for it.

n It could bring about restoration of full funding for the band. Last year, because of the city’s dire financial straits, the band’s budget was cut to $20,000, about half its normal amount of $40,000.

Plans call for the new band and arts commission to be allocated $42,000 to $50,000 for the 2013-14 budget year, so the band could conceivably restore some of its members and musical activities.

n It could breathe new life into activities promoted by the Sauk Valley Arts and Culture Commission, whose members have not met for 6 months.

The group was formed in August 2009 with three goals: research grants; develop a directory of local artists and a website; and put on a variety show.

A website and brochure were developed, but as a new group, the arts commission had no luck winning any grant money, and it didn’t receive money from the city, either. By combining with the well-established city band and receiving some city funds, its overall outlook might improve.

n The consolidation of like-minded interests, under the umbrella of city government, makes sense. Communities where music and the arts flourish tend to have a higher quality of life – one that nourishes residents and attracts newcomers.

And with the city overseeing the commission’s spending, greater transparency and accountability should be achieved.

City council members would be wise to give the combined group a chance to prove itself. The mayor, band director and Main Street chief believe it’s a good idea. We do, too.

Make beautiful music.

Encourage the arts.

If the Dixon Municipal Band Commission for the Arts can achieve those goals, it will have proved to be a fruitful combination.

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