Ezra Wenner, Jr. Retires after 80 Years of Service to The Allentown Band


After an incredible 80-year tenure as a member of the Allentown Band, Ezra Wenner has decided to retire effective December 31, 2022.

Ezra started playing with The Allentown Band while still a high school student, during the fall of 1942, under the direction of Bert Meyers.

Over the years Ezra has served the band at various times as Trombone Section Leader, Soloist, Board Member, Librarian, and Secretary-Treasurer. He even drove the equipment truck on occasion. It is highly unlikely that anyone will ever match, let alone surpass Ezra’s tenure, dedication, and service to the band.

A celebration of Ezra's service with The Allentown Band was held Wednesday January 25, 2023 at Luther Crest. Ezra Wenner received a warm well deserved reception last evening at Luther Crest from about 50 Band members and friends on the occasion of his Retirement Celebration. The evening was a jubilant occasion in celebration and recognition of Ezra Wenner's storied tenure and many contributions to the Allentown Band and the Lehigh Valley music scene in general. Proclamations read from Mayor Matt Tuerk, City of Allentown and Phillips Armstrong, County of Lehigh; a Certificate of Outstanding Achievement from the Association of Concert Bands; and a Life Member Certificate from the Allentown Band were presented to Ezra. Al Jacobson, Executive Director of the Allentown Symphony Association and Diane Wittry, Conductor of the Allentown Symphony were both on hand to offer congratulations to Ezra, who also enjoyed a 49 year tenure as a member of the ASO, concurrent with, not before his 80 years with the ABand. 

The City of Allentown proclaimed January 25, 2023 as "Ezra Wenner Day". Lehigh County recognized his service. The Association of Concert Bands issued a special recognition award, and Dr. Demkee wrote this on behalf of the entire band:

Dear Ezra,

On behalf of the entire band, I extend hearty congratulations on your retirement from the Allentown Band! Your eighty-year tenure as a member of the band is a fete that is not likely to ever be matched.

You have served as Section Leader, Soloist, Board Member, Secretary-Treasurer, President and equipment truck driver at various times during your time with the band. Many are not aware of the fact that you single handedly filed all the music in the bands library when the band moved to its new headquarters in the City's former Keystone Fire Station. That's five thousand (5,000) titles!

Words cannot adequately express our admiration and gratitude for all you have done for this organization. You have made an indelible mark, not only on the band, but on many musical organizations in which you participated throughout the Lehigh Valley. Your musicianship, dedication, unflappable demeanor, and pithy sense of humor will be missed.

As a Life Member of the Band, you are always welcome to attend rehearsals whenever your schedule permits, and we earnestly hope that we will see you many times in the audience at performances in the future,

Sincerely, Ron

To sum it up, the entire evening came down to one of expressions of congratulations with admiration and appreciation for Ezra's remarkable 80 years of dedication to the Allentown Band, an achievement that is unlikely to ever be matched or surpassed. We will be adding to our Tribute to Ezra page on the band's website as materials are collected. www.allentownband.com

Following are a few emails received from friends:

From Johan de Meij:
Dear Ezra,
Congratulations on your 80th year membership with the Allentown Band! This is absolutely amazing, I think you deserve a place in the Guinness Book of Records!
It was a pleasure to meet you several times over the years. I do hope you will still play the March 7th concert at Carnegie Hall? That would be the perfect venue for your final concert. And then that trombone goes into its case for a well-deserved rest.
Stay well my friend, you are a true WINNER!
Johan de Meij

From David Katz, Founder and Chief Judge, the American Prize, National Nonprofit Competitions in the Performing Arts:
Amazing and wonderful! Bravo to Ezra!

David (Volosin) Katz, founder and chief judge
The American Prize National Nonprofit Competitions in the Performing Arts

From Donald Hunsberger, former Conductor of the Eastman Wind Ensemble:

Many Thanks for forwarding Ezra's proclamation saluting him for his many years in his various positions with the Allentown Band!! Please pass along to him my most heartfelt congratulations on all his contributions. Ezra and I go back to my Junior Year in Souderton High when I played second trombone to him in the Lehigh Symphony under Herbert Fiss for two years. Our back row included Bernard Beitel and Ray Huston. Great Days! Then, of course, was the big Celebration with everyone, my first time to see Ezra in so many years. On that occasion, I asked Ezra if he was still playing solos and his astute answer was "Not Intentionally!" Same old Ezra!
Please enjoy the dinner tonight and let him, and everyone else, know that I am with you tonight in spirit.
All the Best to Ezra and yourself!

From Owen Fisher, host of "Music That's Band" on 2MBS Fine Music radio, Sydney Australia: Owen frequently includes the Allentown Band in his programs. https://www.2mbsfinemusicsydney.com/

Dear Ron,
I read about this a few days ago, and I knew you would be proud! What an honour from the city to change the name of the day to Wennersday! Coincidentally, last night I programmed the sextet from Lucia di Lammermore, with Ezra amongst the six soloists! This will be broadcast in Music That’s Band No. 666 on 17th June.
Today is a public holiday all over Australia, not for Ezra, but it is Australia Day, the day we commemorate the beginning white civilisation as we merged with the Aboriginees.

I hope you are still well, as am I, and keep up the good work!

More about Ezra

George Vandoren's excellent article on the occasion of Ezra's 75th anniversary in Lehigh Valley Press:

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