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The Globe Gazette
Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Efforts continue to save '76 Trombones' sculpture
by John Skipper

MASON CITY — There is a scene in “The Music Man” in which Professor Harold Hill tells young Winthrop, “I always think there’s a band, kid.”

It is a touching message of hope and optimism when things are not looking good for the phony professor.

Today, there is nothing phony about citizens’ efforts to save the “76 Trombones” sculpture on East State Street near the police headquarters.

It is part of the rotating sculpture program of the non-profit River City Sculptures on Parade and it is scheduled to rotate out of town on Thursday unless enough money can be raised to keep it here.

Citizens hoping '76 Trombones' sculpture stays in River City

MASON CITY — It just seems fitting that “76 Trombones” should remain in Mason City.

And that’s where hope and optimism have come into play.

Jack Leaman, 84, is leading a fundraising effort to reach the purchase price of $15,000 and he has an enthusiastic group, including the sculptor, which is trying to help him.

So far, $6,515 has been donated by individuals and organizations, and other pledges have been made.

“We’ve got a ways to go but I think we’re going to do it,” Leaman said Monday.

“A sculpture depicting ‘76 Trombones’ doesn’t belong anywhere else but in Mason City,” said Leaman.

He said if the total amount isn’t raised by Thursday, arrangements are in the works to have it leased until the $15,000 is raised.

The sculptor, Douglas Walker of Black Creek, British Columbia, has agreed to the idea of leasing it.

Susan Moorman, who works with River City Sculptures on Parade, said her organization supports that arrangement.

There are other complications. As sculptures are rotated out and new ones are coming in, the spot where the “76 Trombones” sculpture sits has been reserved for a new piece of art.

Leaman said it is his hope the sculpture can be purchased and moved to a permanent location just west of The Music Man Square.

Robin Anderson, who heads the River City Sculptures program, said several sculptures on display in years past have been purchased and donated to the city.

The money already donated will go toward the purchase price so anyone wanting to purchase it for the city will get it for far less than the $15,000, she said.

Checks can be made payable to River City Sculptures on Parade in care of the Mason City Chamber of Commerce, 9 N. Federal Ave., Mason City, IA 50401.

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Globe Gazette
Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
April 02, 2016

'76 Trombones': A dream sculpture

Like most kids of my generation I saw the movie “The Music Man” when it first came out in our local theater.

Not many years after the movie I joined a marching band. It wasn’t so much a marching band as it was a drum corps supporting a group of majorettes. The Owen Sound High Steppers toured around southern Ontario in Canada for many years.

My job in the drum corps was to hold down the bottom end. The bass drum. I guess I didn’t have the chops to play the snare drum.

As viewers of my sculpture work can tell, the movie left a lasting impression on me. Fifty years later I am still dreaming about marching bands and brass instruments.

I didn’t know Mason City was “River City” until a few years ago when I received a call from a representative of Sculptures on Parade. She was inquiring about a sculpture I had made for Castlegar Sculpture Walk, “Kinetic Weather Disturbance.”

“Can we transfer your sculpture to Mason City, Iowa, to be part of Sculptures on Parade”? she asked. And then added, “Mason City is the home of ‘The Music Man.’”

I jumped right out of my skin! Well yeah, sure, please and thank you. “Kinetic Weather Disturbance” went on to win best in show and was purchased later that year and donated back to the city. And that’s how I was connected to Sculptures on Parade in Mason City. It couldn’t have been better.

So to make a long story even longer, let me tell you a little bit about the making of the sculpture, “76 Trombones.”

I dreamed up the idea while I was traveling to somewhere and later scribbled a likeness of the idea in one of my notebooks. The idea percolated in my head for a year or two, then I mustered up the courage to build it.

I had all the defunct instruments I needed hanging up in my studio. So I pulled them down and started the process of making my dream piece, “76 Trombones.”

I am so impressed with the efforts of the citizens of Mason City to raise money to keep the sculpture in town. Special thanks to Jack Leaman and Robin Anderson for getting the ball rolling.

I would be so proud to have “76 Trombones” as part of the permanent sculpture collection right here in River City.

Keep on marching, Mason City.

The Globe Gazette
Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Cerro Gordo Supervisors contribute to '76 Trombones' sculpture
by Courtney Fiorini

MASON CITY — The Cerro Gordo County Board of Supervisors will contribute to keeping a “Music Man” sculpture in Mason City. The board unanimously agreed Tuesday morning to provide $500 to clean, protect and move “76 Trombones” to its new home.

“A number of donations were received by the sculpture committee,” Jack Leaman said. “I am, of course, pleased that it will stay right here in River City.”

Leaman led the charge, raising $15,000 to purchase the sculpture and keep it in Mason City. He has permission from the board of The Music Man Square to place it in a planter at the west end of the square.

“The reason I like that very much is as you come up Highway 65 and take that diagonal over onto Delaware Avenue, that statue is going to be right there in the front,” he said.

The sculpture is being cleaned and spray coated with a protective clear coat before it will be displayed again.

Supervisor Jay Urdahl expressed his support for the cause. “I think you’ve got a great location there,” Urdahl said. “You have something to highlight the west end.”

Transcriptions by Sharon R. Becker, April of 2016



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