In 1967, a band of Lyons Township High School students played a show at the South Campus Corral on a Saturday night after a basketball game. This Saturday, they’ll play another, alongside and after a football game.
The guys are older. Their sound—and spirit—is the exact same.
They are Saracens, a rock band named for a type of British armored personnel carrier, and they were one of LTHS’ premier bands in the late 1960’s. The band reunited in 2011 after over 40 years of silence, having rediscovered each other online, and began practicing.
“We all agreed: if we stunk, we would always just practice in the basement and have a good time, but if we ever got good, we would try to go out and play,” recalls lead singer Frank Glas.
“The guy’s wife whose house we were practicing in came downstairs one time and said, ‘you know, I hate to tell you guys this, but you’re actually getting better.’”
So they went out and played: a bar in McCook, a festival in Wheaton, a benefit in Bolingbrook, a 9/11 tribute in Countryside. But on Saturday, the members will be returning to the scene of one of their high-school career highlights.
At the time of Saracens’ heyday, the LTHS Corral used to be the hot youth hangout spot for La Grange and Western Springs teens. Professional bands would regularly play, and it was a fairly big deal for a local group to have a gig there—so Saracens’ members still recall their show fondly.
These days, though, the Corral sees a lot less usage, and Glas and the other Saracens members say that’s a shame. So, all proceeds from their concert will go directly towards funding the Corral, in the hope that it may experience a renaissance.
“Nobody’s really thought that much about the Corral as a functioning unit much for the last 20 or 30 years,” Glas said. “Maybe [we] couldn’t bring it back completely, but there’s a whole lot of kids who are just sitting around playing video games. Even if they just came to the Corral and played video games, at least they’d be moving around a little bit.”
When Saracens was founded, they played the music of their era: ‘60s rock, the Beatles, Chuck Berry, the Kinks, Wilson Pickett, and so on. They still do.
Four of the original five members remain: Glas (class of 1968), Bill Trombello (class of 1970), Art Erdmann (class of 1970) and Don Musillimi (class of 1971). Steve Sims, class of 1968, has since passed away; Rich Harris, class of 1971, has joined in his stead.
Their concert starts at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday night, a conflict with the LTHS football playoff game also at South Campus that is sure to draw a large crowd. But the game should be over around 10:00 p.m.; Saracens plans to play until 11:30. So, students and game attendees wondering what a party at the Corral was like in its most active times will have a chance to drop by afterwards and experience it.
“I’m not gonna say we’re going take over and be the next rock star band or anything,” said Glas. “But we’re having so much fun in doing this.”
Saracens plays from 7:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. at the LTHS South Campus Corral on Saturday, Nov. 10. Donation is $20; proceeds fund the Corral.