Bandstand to be named after Ron Prill
In addition to fresh air and rousing instrumental renditions of some of the best-loved songs, citizens who attend the community band concert in Central Park Tuesday evening will receive an added bonus.
The bandstand in the park will be dedicated to Ron Prill at 8 p.m. Tuesday and from that time forward, the bandstand will bear his name.
Jim Edgeton, Fairfield High School instrumental music instructor and director of the Fairfield Community Municipal Band, and Gerry Runyon have spearheaded efforts to dedicate the bandstand to Prill.
Edgeton said Prill rehearsed with the community band June 24 to prepare for the first Central Park concert in the 2013 series. However, when he arrived in the park June 25, he told Edgeton he did not think he could play due to declining health.
“I told him he could sit in the park and watch. I told him he’d probably never seen a concert in the bandstand from that perspective, and he said he hadn’t,” Edgeton said. “That concert was the first concert Ron hadn’t played in in more than 60 years, with the exception of times when he was gone for training with the 34th Army Band.
“After the concert, Gerry Runyon and I were talking about the incredible number of years he’s spent making music in that bandstand. The dedication seemed only fitting,” Edgeton said.
Runyon approached Fairfield Mayor Ed Malloy about the possibility of dedicating the bandstand to Prill and “the mayor took it from there,” Edgeton said. On July 22, the city council approved the proposal.
Prill joined the Army National Guard in 1948 when he was just 16 years old.
“He’s been playing every summer since,” Edgeton said.
Prill was a member of the 34th Army Band for more than 40 years, serving as the commander for approximately 20 years.
Additionally, he was an instrumental music instructor at Fairfield High School from the late 1960s until his retirement in the spring of 1992. When the 34th Army Band could no longer play concerts in Central Park, it was Prill who organized the municipal band in 1987 so summer concerts could continue. He directed the band for a few years and then handed the reins to Jim Hafner. When Hafner stepped down, Edgeton assumed direction of the municipal band.
“There is nobody who has performed in the bandstand as many times as Ron has,” Edgeton said.
“In Ron Prill, Fairfield has a man who has dedicated his life to bringing music to our community in one capacity or another,” he said.
“Through his work in the Guard, he not only brought music to Fairfield, but to the state of Iowa. Coupled with his work as a teacher and band director at FHS, he’s given us 65 years of music and he’s touched countless lives.
“There is no one more deserving,” said Edgeton.
Edgeton said he hopes many of Prill’s former students, current and former members of the 34th Army Band, past and present members of the municipal band and community members will be present for the dedication.
“We owe Ron a debt of gratitude for his service to us,” he said.
In the event of rain, the concert and dedication will be moved to the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center’s Stephen Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts.