Band Alumni and Rotarians Contos and Hamilton to play at Century of Musical Elegance Concert

Rotary Club of Joliet members, Tony Contos and Howard Hamilton will kick‐off the Club’s centennial year by joining the Joliet Township High School (JTHS) Band as they also celebrate their 100th year during a special concert on July 29. However, it’s no accident that Contos and Hamilton are playing in the concert celebrating the JTHS Band’s Century of Musical Excellence, nearly 70 band alumni will be joining them as well.

Both Contos and Hamilton men are deeply rooted in the JTHS community as band alumni. And both men are also members of Joliet Rotary, where one of its first acts of service was insuring the newly organized high school band had the necessary tools to compete.

(Photo by Anastasia Tuskey)

The relationship between the service club and high school began in 1913 when JTHS manual training instructor A. R. McAllister was asked to organize the school’s first band. He accepted and worked with school board members Al Oldhaver, Herb Spencer and Art Montzheimer, who were also members of the newly organized Rotary Club of Joliet. Working with McAllister, the Joliet Rotarians made it possible for the band to purchase their first musical instruments and band uniforms from Rotarian George Wiswell’s music store.

“The Joliet Rotary and the JTHS Band have a marvelous history together and it’s exciting that we’re both celebrating our centennial years,” said Tim Brophy, Rotary Club of Joliet president. “I’m especially proud that Tony and Howard will kick‐off our Club’s centennial year by playing with JTHS band alumni in a concert saluting the band’s 100 year birthday.”

Contos was introduced to music early in life and began playing clarinet at the age of 10. Through the years he’s played with the bands at Elwood School, Joliet East High School and Joliet Junior College (JJC). Contos has served as a JJC Community Band member for 20 years. He plays with the Joliet American Legion Band and joins the JTHS Alumni Band for performances. A resident of Joliet, Contos is executive director of the Joliet Area Historical Museum (JAHM) where the exhibit, Strike Up the Band will open later this month. The exhibit will chronicle the past 100 years of the JTHS Band with memorabilia, oral history and more. Contos also served as assistant principal and chair of counselors at Joliet Central High School.

A 1981 graduate of Joliet West High School, Hamilton was First Chair Trumpet with the school band. He also heralds from a musical family, including his father Robert (now deceased), a 1940 graduate of JTHS where he also served as First Chair Trumpet. Robert also was a member of the Rotary Club of Joliet. Hamilton’s wife, Kristen, was involved as a band sponsor ‐ and their three children play or played in the Plainfield South High School Band. Daughter Aileen is a college sophomore, was a jazz pianist, played clarinet, and was a drum major. Son, Sean is a trumpet legacy ‐ and son Rick, plays French Horn. A resident of Plainfield, Hamilton is president of Robert E. Hamilton Engineers, Inc., a Joliet‐based civil engineering firm founded by his father.

Chartered on August 1, 1913, the Joliet Rotary Club will celebrate its centennial year through 2013. It was the first Rotary Club chartered by Rotary International in a community with a population fewer than 75,000. The Joliet Club is the 78th club chartered worldwide and provides serves to the community and worldwide.  Today, Joliet Rotary has 155 members and meets weekly at the Joliet Junior College Renaissance Center.  Visit for more information on the Joliet Rotary Club and centennial year events. For more information on the JTHS Band Centennial celebration, go to