A tradition of music and the arts

By Patrick Fisher

New Prague’s motto is A Tradition of Progress and while that’s true, another tradition in the area is its deep roots in the arts, whether it’s music, plays, dancing or other areas.

The City of New Prague recognizes this with its logo—lions holding trumpets. It can be seen in two of the five surviving murals showing different aspects of the community’s history. McMahon’s Annex and Dollar Store has a mural of the 1906 Bohemian Brass Band on its west wall. That band played at different events in the area. The east wall at New Prague Video has a mural of the the New Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, which performed from 1910 to the early 1920s.

There’s also a long tradition of people in the area being involved in different bands, from old-time music to those that play everything from country western to pop. While for most of them it’s not their main source of income, it’s something they do, because they enjoy music. A few have made the arts a career. Just two examples are the piano-playing O’Neill Brothers and actor Lisa Bark.

Whether it’s music or acting, a lot of people in the New Prague area keep active in the arts for a number of reasons. For me it’s because it brings enjoyment to others. Also there’s the creative process, the ability to bring a character to life or put that certain something into a piece of music so someone reacts to it, whether with a smile, laughter or tears.

Music and the arts are also deeply entwined in other aspects of the community. This past Veterans Day music was part of many of the events that honored area veterans. At the high school’s program the choir and band performed and at Mala Strana Health Care Campus the eighth grade band was part of that ceremony.

And on stage, the high school begins its run of A Christmas Carol on Friday.

While the schools have helped continue the tradition of the arts, there are also different groups that keep the arts strong in the area, such as the New Prague Arts Council, the New Prague Community Band, Curtain Call Theater, Generations Theatre Company and Hymnus, a choir made up of area people. Hymnus will be performing outside of our community at the Guthrie Theatre on December 20, a half-hour before the showing of A Christmas Carol. Hymnus is also planning a trip to Italy in January, where they will give performances at several cathedrals and other venues.

As long as there are groups of people in the area who not only enjoy and love music and the arts, but are willing to put in the needed hard work, New Prague will continue its strong tradition in the arts.

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