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Amway Family Fireworks Entertainment Spotlight – Holland American Legion Band

Photo courtesy of the Holland American Legion Band

We’re gearing up for the 2015 Amway Family Fireworks at Ah Nab Awen Park on July 4th! Leading up to the event, we want to give you a glimpse into some of the great performers you’ll be seeing throughout the evening leading up to the fireworks.

Our first spotlight is on the Holland American Legion Band!

In 1920, the newly formed Willard G. Leenhouts American Legion Post 6 in Holland, Michigan, established the band. American Legion members from the area who had experience on musical instruments were invited to join the band, and following the Legion’s purpose of serving the entire community, other musicians from the area were also invited to participate.The band members’ pride and commitment have been consistent throughout the years.

The band has grown from 25 musicians in 1920 to nearly 100 in recent years. There is a core of regular members that is augmented by other area musicians, including high school and college students, during their busy summer concert season. Due to a strong sense of pride in the band and its service, many of the band’s current musicians are second or third generation Holland American Legion Band members.
The band, especially in its early years with the Holland Furnace Company as a sponsor, traveled frequently to other cities and states for conventions and parades. St. Paul, Chicago, Philadelphia and New Orleans were among the places where they performed.

At the Normandy American Cemetery June 2009 (courtesy of the Holland American Legion)

More recently, the band was part of the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Mackinac Bridge in July 2007, and went to Europe in June 2009 to participate in concerts and ceremonies as part of the 65th Anniversary of D-Day. The members also held a private ceremony at the grave of Willard G. Leenhouts at the Aisne-Marne Cemetery near Belleau Wood, France, where he is buried.  (Willard had been the first casualty from Holland in WWI, and was chosen as the namesake of the Legion Post when they formed.) That trip concluded with two joint concerts with bands in The Netherlands.

At Pearl Harbor in December 2011 (courtesy of the Holland American Legion Band)

In December 2011 the band again had the honor of participating in an important homage to our WWII US Service men and women by traveling to Pearl Harbor to be part of the 70th Anniversary of the Japanese attack there at the beginning of WW II.

In June, 2014, the band made a second trip to Normandy, this time for the 70th Anniversary of D-Day. Concerts and ceremonies were again performed in various locations in Normandy, as well as the Normandy American Cemetery which overlooks Omaha Beach. The band performed nine concerts and at two ceremonies in their eleven day trip. Several cities had a local concert band perform before the Legion Band, and in Luxembourg and the Netherlands, the local groups performed a joint concert with the Legion Band. The Holland American Legion Band is proud to have been a part of these important and historic events.

The Holland American Legion Band will be performing at 5:40 p.m. at Ah Nab Awen Park on Saturday, July 4 as part of the Amway Family Fireworks! We hope to see you there!

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