The Town Band, an ensemble of the Washtenaw Community Concert Band, is a 20-piece vintage music group that plays only music from the 1880–1920 period, in period-appropriate costume and with period-appropriate instruments. This is the only ensemble in our area devoted to the music of the "golden age" of the "town band" movement in the USA—an era before recorded music was readily available. This late 19th and early 20th Century musical movement was heavily influenced by the great touring concert bands led by such as Gilmore, Sousa, Creatore, Conway, and Prior.
Hear the Town Band and other ensembles perform a variety of music.
Check back: we will post new performance dates here.
In the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, before radio, movies, and television were popular, every community of any size just had to have at least one "town band." These were often sponsored by governmental units, business/industry, social/civic/fraternal organizations, and the like. Size and instrumentation varied depending on the availability of players. The town bands performed often for "concerts in the park," social and church gatherings, and ceremonial events.
The Town Band re-creates the sounds and atmosphere of the popular town band concerts of the World War I era. Programs include marches, popular songs of the day, light classical music, familiar melodies, hymns, soloists, and period-appropriate commentary. The instrumentation is intended to be typical of town bands of the time and includes flute/piccolo, B-flat clarinets, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, cornets, alto horns, tenor horn, baritone horn, trombones, tuba, and drums.
The Town Band was founded in 2009 by Jerry Robbins, then-conductor of the Ypsilanti Community Band/Washtenaw Community Concert Band, who serves as conductor of the Town Band ensemble. This ensemble has performed in Washtenaw and surrounding counties for historical events, at church gatherings, for an artisan's market, for retirement homes, and as part of several concert series. The Town Band provides all of its own equipment (with the possible exception of chairs) for each performance.
In 2011, the Town Band was selected in national competition to perform at the national convention of the Association of Concert Bands.
In 2018, the Town Band was selected and performed as the featured guest band at the Upper Peninsula Community Band Festival in Marquette, Michigan.
Most organizations that book the Town Band for an appearance provide an honorarium to cover our expenses for moving equipment, acquisition of music and instruments, and the like. Any surplus goes into the treasury of the Washtenaw Community Concert Band, a 501(c)(3) organization.
For additional information or to book the Town Band, please contact us by email.