Palmer spent his entire life bringing joy to other people through music. He gave up the life of a professional musician in 1948 and returned to his hometown of DeKalb to become director of the community band, a post he held for more than 60 years.We have video of Maestro Palmer's last performance, which is on the production schedule for posting.
Palmer followed in his father and grandfather's footsteps to get involved with the band. Palmer conducted his first concerts as the band's official leader in 1948.
The band, which today has approximately 50 members, has performed in the DeKalb area since 1854 and claims to be one of the oldest continuous bands in Illinois.
Palmer conducted his last song – "The Star Spangled Banner" – at the band's final performance in August. He had been absent most of the season due to a left arm injury and was uncertain whether or he would retire.His season-ending thanks to the audience didn't include his usual "The Good Lord willing, and the creek don't rise" invitation for all to be back again the following June.
At that final concert, Palmer reminisced about the first time he took the stage 63 years ago, saying when he opened his first paycheck, he was a little disappointed – not because of the money but because his position description said “temporary.”
“Sixty-three years has gone by. Last week, I opened my paycheck and it said ‘part time’ and ‘temporary,’" he said. “So I guess I’m never going to have a steady job.”
Thanks for the great shows.
After 63 years of seeing Palmer conducting the municipal band, it will be bittersweet next summer to not see him with his baton. But we also know that with the love of music he passed on to countless others, Palmer’s presence and influence will live on.Indeed.