Saxophone player and band leader Goerge Millonas pauses after a rehearsal for his orchestra's final concert. "My lungs are OK," he said. "But my body is giving out."

Band leader George Millonas shuffled through loose sheet music, dropping a page, which prompted him to tell the audience, “Just like me, my music is falling apart.”

As the last notes of the “All American March” sounded through the Oak Park Arms ballroom May 28, Millonas said into a microphone, “That’s all folks.”

He and his Mills Orchestra bandmates, quietly returned their instruments to their cases. It was their last performance, ending almost 40 years of performances.

Once nearly 50 members strong, the orchestra played its final performance with just nine musicians.

Many of the band members died off or got too old to play. The band made several attempts to recruit new members.

“It’s just the end of an era,” said George’s wife, Neva, the band’s librarian and manager. “I think about all the people who contributed, the people who played trumpet, the piano players. They’re just no longer here anymore. When’s it going to be our time?”

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David Pierini

In June of 2014, David was honored with the 1st Place Award for Best Photo Series, as well as the 1st Place Award for Sports Photo, by the Illinois Press Association. Check out his award-winning caliber...