BYRON, Ill. - The Village of Mt. Morris has been delighting area residents for more than a century with its summer concert performances, held outdoors at the village's band shell. A recent donation from Exelon Nuclear's Byron Generating Station will enhance these concerts and make the overall listening experience even more memorable through some planned renovations.
A $15,000 donation from Byron Station will help the village refurbish the band shell, located in the center of the village campus. Mt. Morris will improve the viewing area by purchasing new permanent benches and placing them on a concrete viewing area in front of the band shell. This will enhance the entertainment experience for visitors as well as helping the town save money on weekly maintenance costs that were associated with the old viewing area. Added improvements will also include the moving of the town's flagpoles into one centralized location and landscaping upgrades that will give the whole area a new aesthetic appeal.
"It's great when villages like Mt. Morris have an opportunity to improve their town's centerpiece - in this case the village campus area and band shell," Village President Greg Unger said. "Our Mt. Morris Community Work Group will help with the initiative on top of many other projects they take care of. They are very instrumental, creative and energetic when it comes to projects like this."
The concerts in this location began in 1896. The current band shell was built in 1922 and seats 50 musicians. Longtime band shell performers, the Kable Concert Band, have been entertaining generations of families in the area for 90 years. Warren Reckmeyer has directed the band for more than 50 years.
"Warren and the band draw people from many towns in the area," Unger said. "A lot of local boys and girls who graduated from the area come back and play in the band."
Byron Station Site Vice President Tim Tulon said he is glad the donation will enable Mt. Morris to improve an already wonderful tradition.
"It's amazing the life and history behind these concerts," Tulon said. "To have the town's community group help in the refurbishment project and also have former students from the area come back to play in the band - it's no wonder the concerts have been held for more than 100 years."
With both units at full power, the site produces almost 2,300 megawatts net, enough electricity for 2.3 million homes. Byron Generating Station is in Ogle County, Ill., about 25 miles southwest of Rockford.