An honorary street naming was held on Friday, February 10 at Manual High School to honor retired music educator George Graves, Junior. Mr. Graves served as Band Director from 1977 until 2008. During his tenure at Manual High School, he also served as the Marching Band Director, Jazz Band Director, took the band to Mardi Gras parades, the Disney World Band Competition, led them in countless regional parades, and gave thousands of students the gift of music education and appreciation. Mayor Ali presented a Mayoral Proclamation to acknowledge Mr. Graves’ achievements.
A tenor saxophone player, he was a charter member of the Central Illinois Jazz Orchestra and, along with his wife, Martha, were charter members of the Prairie Wind Ensemble. He also taught private lessons, played with and managed the Peoria Municipal Band, and played in small ensembles.
The sign, titled “George Graves, Jr. Ave”, was proposed by the Manual Alumni Student Recognition Association. Located at Ann and Griswold, the former students stated, “this location is ideal because it runs along Russell Field and is but a few yards from Manual's band wing -- the primary sites where he prepared his students for performances.”
Along with the street naming and the Mayoral Proclamation, it was noted at today’s program that the Manual High School auditorium, band room, and music offices were renamed the “George Graves, Junior School of Cultural Arts at the January 23, 2023 board meeting. Mr. Graves will direct the Manual Alumni Band at tonight’s basketball game against Urbana, which begins at 7:00 pm.
A video of the event will be available later today on the City of Peoria YouTube page.