Justin Skolnick lives and works in Portland.

Bursting In Air

Originally posted to justin.revision8.com on in Cary, Illinois

Image: Bursting In Air

On break from the drawing group, Peter sat on the steps of the Old Courthouse, lit a cigar, and gestured towards the concert underway in the park across the street. “I could never take a lawn chair and sit there like that.”

In the seconds between songs from the boombox, we hear the concerts below. From us to the bandstand — two stories and several yards of brick and lawn — the air transforms thundering brass and the drums into something melodic and pleasant. We hear a different sound on the steps, and another up close, in lawn chairs.

The Wednesday night Woodstock City Band Concerts in the Square are a summer institution, a quaintness that makes citizens proud to call Woodstock home. The town is charming enough to have attracted Harold Ramis for the filming of Groundhog Day. Extras danced to the Pennsylvania Polka behind the same bandstand rails draped with patriotic fans. “American Pride,” the concert before Independence Day, is always the season’s most popular. Because of the crowd, Jenn and I had to park two blocks from the Courthouse.

A five-year-old guest-conducted the band through a march and the crowd cheered. Americana. Old women braced themselves for fireworks from around the cupola, large low blasts echoed from old brick building to old brick building, setting off a car alarm. They stood for the National Anthem and the retiring of the color guard and dispersed under lamplight.