The weather was unseasonably perfect for Thursday night’s “Salute to America” concert on the lawn of Paris High School and the ice cream was cold.

The weather was unseasonably perfect for Thursday night’s “Salute to America” concert on the lawn of Paris High School and the ice cream was cold.

Following a crop-enhancing rain, the skies cleared, the sun came out, the 90-degree plus temperatures fell to a perfect 79 degrees — the perfect setting for the Mexico Community Band’s outdoor performance.

Under the direction of Josh Yancey, the volunteer group performed an evening of patriotic music to an appreciative audience estimated at more than 100.

Paris High School band director Jared Shulse played tuba during the concert – and even directed one of the marches played by the band.

Prior to the start of the concert members of the Paris American Legion Post 221 presented the colors and the audience sang “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Formed in 1983, the musical group consists of musicians of all ages. Based in Mexico and averaging about 40, band members come from all over the area.

“Our members come from Mexico, Fulton, Laddonia, Centralia and Paris,” Yancey said. “Our members consist of students, retired individuals, retired teachers, food producers, lawyers, bankers, newspaper editors, etc.”

“This is a lot of fun,” a smiling Yancey said of directing the community band. “I get to work with talented people from all walks of life. To work with people who just love to get together and play. It is different from teaching and playing with youngsters.”

While focusing on patriotic music because of the upcoming July 4th celebrations, the bands repertoire includes hymns, marches, light classical and pop. “We play a little of everything,” Yancey commented.

Yancey, who has served as director of the band for the past nine years, actually played in the band as a student.

A talented musician, Yancey plays the tuba, trombone and the baritone.

He presently teaches band in the Mexico High School but has taught band in several area schools including Centralia, Shelbina, Missouri Military Academy in Mexico and New Bloomfield.

The band performs the majority of its concerts in Mexico. However, the band some concerts in surrounding communities.

Those attending the band concert were treated to free ice cream. They also had an opportunity to give a free will offering for the Paris Senior Center.

The Salt River Journal sponsored the event along with co-sponsors, the Paris Senior Center and the Paris R-II School District.