An entertaining trip through New England via the music of our town bands. Join the Newmont Band for this concert to benefit the West Claremont Center for Music and the Arts’ community and youth programs. Admission is by donation, so please contribute an amount meaningful to you to help keep music and art alive in our community!
For more information about the Newmont Military Band visit: http://newmontmilitaryband.org/
The Newmont Military Band, brought together by Larry Jones, of Windsor, Vermont, actually began as a cornet band, and was formed in 1995 as a re-creation of a small-town brass band of the late 1800s. A couple of years later, the clarinets were added. Most of the brass instruments played by the musicians in the NMB are originals, i.e., were either manufactured prior to, or based on, designs drawn before 1895. These brass instruments—cornets (not trumpets), alto horns, tenor horns, baritone, and tubas—have a more mellow sound than many of today’s brass instruments, and they require a different level of skill to produce the sound so indicative of the old-time bands.
You will notice there are no french horns, no flutes, and the D-flat piccolo looks a little different than the C piccolo found in modern bands.
Our music was borrowed from the archives of the American Band of Claremont, New Hampshire. As it is authentic late 19th century music, it is scored differently than music played by modern bands and we hope you agree it has a different sound.
A cursory examination of our uniforms quickly reveals that not all are identical. However, our photos of the Windsor (Vt.) Military Band performing at the summit of Mt. Ascutney in 1903, show that this was the norm for a New England town band. The uniforms we are wearing today replicate those worn by the Windsor Band in that picture. The jacket closely resembles the U.S. Army’s 1872 officer’s undress military tunic. The hat is similar to the M-1895 officer’s undress hat. And… prices have gone up! In 1902, you could buy a dozen hats for $7.00!!!
It is a common misconception that there were no women in these 19th-century town bands. Historically, women did participate, although it was thought by most that it was not “seemly” for a woman to place herself on display that way. Thus it may not seem authentic to have women musicians in a representation of a 19th century band, but there are precedents. In fact, the village of Lockehaven, N.H. (part of Enfield), was proud of the “Lockhaven Ladies’ Cornet Band.”
Our program is representative of the music played on the town green in the late 19th century. There are songs of “the war,” songs of love, marches (including Sousa’s!), dances, and songs from the old plantations. Our musical selections are chosen from American Band and Windsor Military Band programs documented in the Claremont Advocate and the Vermont Journal between the years of 1890 and 1905. It’s sometimes hard to imagine that “local” musicians had the skills necessary to play some of these very difficult and heavily interwoven scores from the composers of their time.
The Newmont Military Band first performed at the Rachel S. Harlow United Methodist Church Centennial Celebration, in Windsor, in 1995. They have performed at the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vermont, Windsor (Vt.) Heritage Days, the Franklin Pierce Homestead in Hillsborough NH, and for other “period” celebrations in Vermont and New Hampshire. They also participated in the First Annual W.S. Ripley Band Festival in Bethel, Maine.
The members of the band come from Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. They are your neighbors and friends, and are from all walks of life. Not only are they sons, daughters, fathers, and mothers, most are professionals in today’s workforce, as were the members of the old bands… they were farmers, bakers, blacksmiths, and factory workers. They shared the same love and avocation that the musicians in the Newmont Military Band do… a love of this kind of music and of the mellow sound these horns produce. These people do what they love to do, in the company of those who feel the same, and come away from each event with a great feeling of accomplishment. They also have a lot of fun!