The “Queen City of the Ozarks” is ready to welcome the long-awaited first live summer meet since 2019. Save the dates of July 12-17, 2022 and plan to meet up for history, education, music and fellowship at the Oasis Hotel and Convention Center on the north edge of Springfield, nestled between Interstate 44 and historic US Route 66. The Oasis is a gated facility with a full-service restaurant and bar, common areas with indoor and outdoor pool facilities, and is currently undergoing a significant facelift and upgrade. The newly-renovated rooms are attractive and comfortable. It is not too early to reserve your room. The event rehearsals and banquets will be at the Oasis Hotel and Convention Center. The Oasis has limited rooms. You can call to reserve a room at 417-866-5253. If they currently don’t have space, they can put you on a waitlist. The other hotel is the Holiday Inn just down the street (2 minutes by car; 8 minutes by walking). Phone number is 417-865-8600 for making reservations. Windjammer rates are $119 a night plus taxes at both hotels. Each hotel includes a breakfast in the room price. For this Convention, you can also book a room somewhere else if you desire. Registration details will be coming soon once all of the logistics are settled.
While the itinerary is still being finalized, the meet plans include the opportunity for small groups to play in a local venue each evening (Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday) in advance of the final concert on Saturday, July 16 at the Convention Center’s Grand Ballroom. Daily concert session: with a select group of the organization’s fine conductors will be a staple of the meet, as always. The Saturday evening banquet and Sunday farewell brunch will take place in the rehearsal facility alongside the grand ballroom.
Educational plans include a session on Thursday afternoon for area band directors to sit in with the group (or observe, if they choose) and learn more about WJU, the music we play, and its importance in band history. A Thursday afternoon social event following the session will provide the double benefit as a concert and a recruiting opportunity to grow the membership. The Saturday evening banquet is scheduled to feature Kansas City jazz drummer and educator Clarence Smith, who toured with the Toby Tyler Circus in the 1980s.
Notable composers from around the area include Merle Evans (Columbus, KS); Russell Alexander (Nevada, MO); JJ Richards (Pittsburg, KS). Joplin’s Schifferdecker Park Museum includes a display of Merle Evans memorabilia, which we will try to bring to the convention site. Highlighting these three musicians, as well as any other circus composers/performers in the four-state region of this corner of Missouri, will be a prime focus of the music list. The George Carden Circus is headquartered a few miles north of Springfield, and discussions about their participation are in progress.
Springfield has a rich history as a bustling railroad center starting in the late 1800s, the birthplace of Route 66 in the 1920s, and much more. Wild Bill Hickok was the victor in the first “Wild West” gunfight of its kind on the courthouse square, and Will Rogers made his first appearance in the downtown Fox Theatre. The infamous “Trail of Tears” is noted on several streets through the city. Visitors can enjoy a side trip to historic Wilson’s Creek Civil War Battlefield, the original Bass Pro Shops store, and a revitalized downtown area that includes the Shrine Mosque, a longtime annual venue of the Shrine Circus. The city offers several outdoor concert venues which may figure into the weekday evening programs, including the site of Hickok’s duel. Branson is a 35-minute trip to the south, and the Springfield Cardinals Double-A baseball team will be in town all week and weekend for a series with the Tulsa Drillers.
There’s something for everyone attending, but especially the opportunity to get together, play together, and make new memories among the membership. The Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau’s first impression of the WJU coming to town was that it sounded like the most unique event they would ever host. We’re excited to host this event and look forward to a great time. See you in July 2022!