Joe Lear Honored with Mountaire Better Delmarva Award at The Gull House

Joe Lear's Dixieland Band performing at The Gull House

While performing at Beebe Healthcare’s Gull House Adult Activities Center in Rehoboth Beach on May 11, WMDT/Channel 47 surprised the energetic 92-year-old conductor and founder of the Downtown Dixieland Band, Joe Lear, as this month’s May recipient for the Mountaire Better Delmarva Award.

Downtown Dixieland Band, one of the popular off-shoot bands of the broader Milford Community Band, performs for various community events throughout Delmarva; it is supported solely through donations and a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts. Front-man and award recipient Joe Lear likes to share his passion and love for music with others in the community, especially at venues like The Gull House, where attendees may benefit from the camaraderie and levity of the Dixieland Band tunes. The Gull House is a structured and supervised adult day care program designed for functionally impaired persons who are 18 years of age or older.

“Music is a wonderful form of relaxation and therapy. We were delighted to have the Dixieland Band perform for the first time here today to entertain and brighten the spirits of our clients. In addition, it was a privilege to witness the presentation of the Mountaire Better Delmarva Award to Joe Lear. Joe is an outstanding example of lifelong community activism and passion for bringing people together through music,” Kathleen Frey Graham, Facility Administrator Gull House Adult Services, said.

Joe Lear founded the Milford Community Band 27 years ago in 1990. It started with 12 members, and since its inception, it has grown tremendously with more than 450 past and present members, spanning ages from 92 to 16. Fellow band member Glenn Luedtke, who nominated Joe Lear for the award, said, “Joe is an inspiration to me, and to so many people. I am just in awe of him. If I am ever getting discouraged, I just look to Joe, who at 92 is still doing what he loves, trombone in hand, and encouraging others to share in the enjoyment and fellowship.”

The Mountaire Better Delmarva Award recognizes those who are making a difference on Delmarva, and encourages others to take on a greater role in bettering their local communities or improving the local environment. The award was presented to Joe Lear by Roger Marino, Corporate Director of Community Relations with Mountaire Farms. Marino explains, “anyone who is volunteering at community events, performing wonders in a local hospital, teaching in a classroom, helping the homeless, or something as simple as cleaning up the trash along our roadways, can be a candidate for this award.” To learn more about the award or submit a nomination, visit

“As long as you can read music, all are welcome to join the band,” says band member Glenn Luedtke. For more information on the Milford Community Band, visit

Photo Caption: Joe Lear holding Mountaire Better Delmarva Award trophy, pictured with his Downtown Dixieland Band and Kathleen Frey Graham, Gull House Administrator, at The Gull House.

The Gull House is a structured and supervised Adult Care program designed for functionally impaired persons who are 18 years of age or older. The primary goals of Gull House are to avoid or forestall institutional placement; to support or improve social, mental, emotional, and physical levels of functioning; to enhance the quality of life; and to provide respite to family caregivers. Currently located in Rehoboth Beach, The Gull House opened in the spring of 1987 in response to the community's need for an intermediate care facility to bridge the gap between 24-hour home care and nursing home care. Its services are a vital part of the continuum of care for the elderly, providing a healthful atmosphere and reassurance and support to their families. To learn more about The Gull House, visit or call (302) 226-2160.

Beebe Healthcare is a not-for-profit community healthcare system with a charitable mission to encourage healthy living, prevent illness, and restore optimal health for the people residing, working, or visiting in the communities we serve. It offers services throughout Southern Delaware for residents and visitors, including a 210-licensed-bed hospital, a cancer treatment center, and outpatient facilities providing walk-in care, lab, imaging, and physical rehabilitation services. For more information, please visit us online at