Andy Veres, the last of the original Dixieland Band members, turns 100 on May 18, 2018. With the team out of town for an away game against the Houston Astros, the organization decided to recognize Andy in honor of his 100th birthday Sunday, May 13 against the Kansas City Royals.
The Dixieland Band started playing at the Indians games during the 1995 season, when Veres was 77. At that time, the band had four members: Veres on clarinet, Harvey Arnold on trumpet, Trevor Guy on trombone and Chuck Lilley on banjo. Veres is the last living member of these original four.
The band played all home games from 1995 through the 1999 season, and from 2000 on, they played around 50 home games a season.
After Guy, their trombonist, passed away, they had trouble finding a replacement who could commit to a heavy schedule. So, they decided to keep it as a trio of clarinet, trumpet and banjo.
When Lilley passed away, they had trouble finding a banjo player. They replaced him with a couple of accordion players. It has been clarinet, trumpet and accordion up to the present day.
Their job was to primarily entertain the guests on the suite level. However, they did entertain all the fans a half hour before the first pitch. They were often located by the escalator near the team shop. The band did float around to different areas of the ballpark at times.
Veres said that plenty of fans in the suites and on the concourse would tell them, “You made our day,” even more when the Indians weren’t doing too well on a given day.
In 2007, Veres’s daughter, Patti Crichton, bought a brick for her dad’s birthday, which is located in Heritage Park. It reads: “ANDY VERES 95–07 — JACOB’S FIELD — DIXIELAND BAND.”
Veres will be back at Progressive Field as we honor him for his 100th birthday. He said he misses playing at the ballpark. It can be assumed that fans feel the same way about listening to him play throughout the concourse.
TribeVibe contributor Dan Armelli via Patti Crichton
Cleveland Indians to honor Andy Veres of Dixieland Band for 100th birthday was originally published in TribeVibe on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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