MASON CITY — The Band Festival royalty and drum majors of the Mason City and Newman Catholic high schools were at Elmwood St. Joseph’s Cemetery on Thursday afternoon, placing flowers on the grave of Meredith Willson to honor “The Music Man” on the 121st anniversary of his birth.

Mason City High band queen Kylie Trappe says students know the importance of Willson to Mason City. “I think it’s super important to know the background. We play ‘76 Trombones’ just to remember him and to lead the parade is super cool and to remember him.”

Newman band queen Leah O’Connell says students know how meaningful Willson’s legacy is to the community.  “I think it’s super important to remember Meredith Willson. He put Mason City on the map and he wrote our school song. He’s obviously written a lot of music which is awesome.”

Willson died in June 1984 at the age of 82.