Deacons of Dixieland to perform Friday in Lock Haven

LOCK HAVEN – The Deacons of Dixieland is Friday’s featured band at the summer concert series, beginning at 6 p.m. The concert is at Triangle Park on the corner of Bellefonte Avenue and West Main Street.

The Deacons of Dixieland is an eight-piece traditional jazz band from central Pennsylvania. The group has been supplying lively entertainment for concerts, festivals, parks, retirement homes, clubs and tailgate parties at Penn State University football games since 1988. The band was formed as a Christian music ministry in 1988 by recently deceased trumpeter and leader, John Kepler. The Deacons continue to play frequent hymn tunes in a Dixieland style, as well as classic Dixieland selections, blues and country music in a Dixieland style.

The band was formed by John Kepler in 1988 in State College to play Dixieland as a Christian music ministry. “Bill Bailey,” “Sweet Georgia Brown” and “When The Saints Go Marching In” are a few of the standards. The group also plays hymns, blues, waltzes, polkas and even a few country tunes – all in a happy Dixieland style.

The Deacons of Dixieland has played in New Orleans at Fritzel’s Tavern on Bourbon Street, the Cafe Pontchatrane, the Cafe Brazil, the Tin Roof Cafe and at Preservation Hall, where in January 2001 they opened for the nationally renowned Preservation Hall Jazz band.

Some of the group’s central Pennsylvania engagements include: The Senior Games, Hope for Kids, Lemont Strawberry Festival, Beaver Stadium’s July 4th Fireworks Celebration, People’s Choice Festival and the Centre County Grange Fair.

Additionally, it has played at nursing homes, retirement centers, political rallies, funerals and weddings. The Deacons of Dixieland performances frequently include special vocalists and instrumentalists, including Graham Spanier, former Penn State University president, playing his self-customized turbo washboard.

Band members include Ray Dillon, Marty Gillespie, Mike Loewen, Phil Ponish, Phil Reeder, Jim Ressler and Bill Kawa. To learn more about the Deacons of Dixieland, visit

The public is invited to attend the free summer concert. Seating will not be provided; so, the public is asked to bring lawn chairs.

To learn more about the 2014 Lock Haven summer concert series, check the City of Lock Haven’s website at