Scottville Clown Band to perform Ludington Sesquicentennial Concert on June 14

June 8, 2023

Scottville Clown Band to perform Ludington Sesquicentennial Concert on June 14

LUDINGTON — The Scottville Clown Band will make the trip over to its western neighbors on Wednesday, June 14, and perform a special tribute concert honoring Ludington’s 150th anniversary. The Clown Band’s Ludington Sesquicentennial Concert is sponsored by the Mason County Historical Society and will begin at 7 p.m. at Waterfront Park. 

Scottville Mayor Marcy Spencer will be in attendance to present Ludington Mayor Mark Barnett, on behalf of the City of Ludington, a special tribute from the City of Scottville. 

While the City of Ludington is celebrating its 150th year, the Clown Band is observing its 120th year in existence. The band was founded by Scottville merchants in 1903, starting out as the Scottville Merchants’ Band. The group wore hobo outfits, which eventually merged to a mixture of various costumes over the years. 

Up until the early 1940s, the band mostly performed for events in Scottville and Ludington and the surrounding areas. In the 1930s it was often referred to as the “clown band” but had no official name. Its last performance was the Scottville Home Harvest Festival in September 1941, which was also the last festival prior to the United States entering into World War II. In 1947, Scottville merchant Ray Schulte (who had performed in the band prior to the war, along with his brother and father), re-formed the group in time for the first Festival since the war. The new group was officially called the Scottville Clown Band. 

Since 1947, the band has grown in size and now performs throughout Michigan and sometimes in other places as well. The band’s records show that it has performed in over 120 towns in Michigan since it was re-formed. 

The Scottville Clown Band is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization with a mission of encouraging youth to participate in performing arts. Since 1963, it has awarded over $500,000 in scholarships to junior high school and senior high school students attending summer music camps and programs, with the majority attending Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp (which was co-founded by Gilbert Stansell I, who served as Mason County Central music director in the late 1950s and early 1960s). 

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