Fossil Band readies for once-a-year performance

SYCAMORE – The DeKalb County Fossil Band is preparing for its one performance of the year, and is hoping to recruit new members to join in on the fun. The band only performs during the Sycamore Pumpkin Festival parade.

“We have been approached to do other things, but we don’t,” said snare drummer Jim Kemnitz of Sycamore, who has been performing with the band for 10 years.

The Fossil Band was formed in about 2000, although no one remembers exactly when or how it was organized. There are no auditions or rehearsals, and musicians of any age or skill level are welcome.

Most members play traditional marching band instruments, but accordions, a violin, a guitar, a banjo, a conch shell, and other unconventional instruments have rounded out past performances. Some members don’t even play an instrument.

“They can hold a banner or a flag, or we can give them a cowbell or a conga drum just to keep a beat,” Kemnitz said.

The band tends to have 50 to 70 members. They play only four songs: “When the Saints Go Marching In,” “Beer Barrel Polka,” “Hey Baby,” and “Louie, Louie.” The band gathers at 216 S. Maple St. in Sycamore at 11 a.m. the day of the parade to rehearse before the 1 p.m. start of the parade. The dress code is as informal as the structure.

Email Kemnitz at for more information.

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