Welcome to the (Lafayette Citizens Band) jungle
Plus … Wait, what? Neon Cactus hints at a return. TSC plans for Mintonye Elementary. Gov. Holcomb walks back abortion bill expectations. And look up your school’s ILEARN results
For starters … I’m going to say I’m pretty pumped to say please welcome Lafayette Brewing Co., the city’s original craft brewery and a debut sponsor for today’s edition of the Based in Lafayette reporting project. For more about LBC beers and specials, click the links below.
Speaking of things happening in downtown Lafayette …
MATT CONAWAY SETTLES IN, ONE YEAR AT HELM OF LAFAYETTE CITIZENS BAND: A Q&A
Standing in the wings from his MC post at last week’s Stars & Stripes Concert, Ski Anderson posted video on Facebook with the one-liner: “Our Citizens Band is cooler than yours.”
What followed was a concert band rollout of “Welcome to the Jungle,” a bit of a hometown, Guns n’ Roses tribute on the Fourth of July from the Lafayette Citizens Band and first-year conductor, Matt Conaway.
“We actually had that ready for a city appreciation night a couple of weeks earlier,” Conaway said. “But that concert got canceled due to severe heat. … On the Fourth of July, we thought, Why not?”
Whether that would have been the choice of Bill Kisinger, who conducted the Lafayette Citizens Band for 32 years, could be up for debate. Conaway – an assistant professor at Purdue, a Citizens Band veteran and director of Boiler Brass, the pep band for men’s basketball games at Purdue – said it was just a matter of having fun as he continues to settle in as director with a Citizens Band that got its start in the 19th century.
“We couldn't be happier,” Beth Purkhiser, saxophone player and director of the Lafayette Citizens Band, said. “The musicians and audience alike have responded very positively to our new conductor.
“We were lucky to secure someone as accomplished as Matt Conaway,” Purkhiser said. “I love that he is also still young. We were lucky to enjoy the talents and direction of Bill Kisinger for 32 years, hopefully we will enjoy a similarly lengthy tenure with Matt.”
With the city appreciation theme back on the program for Thursday night’s concert, here’s a Q&A with Conaway about how things are going in his first year.
Question: So, “Welcome to the Jungle” for the Lafayette Citizens Band. How and why?
Matt Conaway: For me, it's part of our community, with Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin’ having gone to Lafayette Jefferson High School. You always try to find the closest and best local connections that you can with your music.