Allentown Band

Citation |last=Whelan | first=Frank| title='Band' plays on words and pictures to tell informal history | newspaper= pages=E.! | year=2003 | date=June 29, 2003 | url= ]

The Allentown Band is a civilian concert band based in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in the United States. It is oldest civilian concert band in the United States, having been in continuous existence since its first documented performance on July 4, 1828, although its origins may trace back to as early as 1822.

The band was known as the Northampton Band until 1838, when the town was officially renamed Allentown. Other names included the Allentown Brass Band (1850-1862) and the Lehigh Cornet Band (1862-1864). Around 1876, the band began using its current name.

Conductor Albertus ("Bert") L. Meyers was a close friend of famed conductor and bandleader John Philip SousaCitation |last=Salter | first=Rosa| title=Two in tune with the times ** At 175, Allentown Band, America's oldest, preserves best of tradition. | newspaper=The Morning Call | pages=E.! | year=2003 | date=April 20, 2003 | url= ] , who recruited at least twenty members of the Allentown Band for his own organization.

The Allentown Band has a long history of performing for visiting dignitaries and dedications. The band has performed for ten United States presidents, including Martin Van Buren during his visit to the area on June 26, 1839Citation |last=Whelan | first=Frank| title=Martin Van Buren Slept Here Allentown, Easton Hosted President | newspaper=The Morning Call | pages=B.03 | year=1985 | date=September 1, 1985 | url=] , marching in Theodore Roosevelt's inaugural parade in 1901, and performing for Jimmy Carter.Citation |last=Willistein | first=Paul| title=Band In Demand Historic Allentown Group Is Booked Until The Millennium And Beyond. | newspaper=The Morning Call | pages=D.01 | year=1999 | date=September 10, 1999 | url= ] In 1861, the band performed at Independence Hall, in a ceremony presided over by Abraham Lincoln. The band performed at both the dedication of Allentown's Soldiers & Sailors Monument in 1899, and its centennial celebration in 1999. The band also performed at the dedication of Allentown's Eighth Street Bridge in 1913, which would later be renamed the Albertus L. Meyers Bridge in 1974 in honor of a former conductor of the Allentown Band.Citation |last=Whelan | first=Frank| title=Bridge named after musician ** Albertus L. Meyers also was conductor of Allentown Band. | newspaper=The Morning Call | pages=B.07 | year=2005 | date=June 8, 2005 | url= ]

The band typically performs about 45 concerts per year. Many of these performances take place in Allentown's West Park, where an average of 2,500 people attend each concert. West Park has long been home to the Allentown Band. The bandshell, designed by noted Philadelphia architect Horace Trumbauer (who had also designed the bandshell at Willow Grove Park), was dedicated on September 17, 1908. The Allentown Band performed at the dedication ceremony, playing Rossini's overture to "Semiramide".Citation |last=Whelan | first=Frank| title=West Park the iconic home for Allentown bands. | newspaper=The Morning Call | pages=E.1 | year=2005 | date=May 29, 2005 | url= ] The bandshell was later named the Goldman Bandshell in honor of Edwin Franko Goldman, noted band composer and founder of the Goldman Band. In 1927, Goldman was the first guest conductor of the Allentown Band. He also conducted Allentown High School's band in the 1930s.

The Allentown Band was the subject of a segment on the "CBS News Sunday Morning" television show which aired on July 7 1991.Citation |last=Lawler | first=Sylvia| title=CBS Finds Right Key To Capturing The Spirit Of The Allentown Band. | newspaper=The Morning Call | pages=A.56 | year=1991 | date=July 2, 1991 | url=] In 2003, the band was the subject of a WLVT-TV-produced documentary titled, "The Allentown Band, 175 Years of Musical Memories". That same year, the book "The Band Plays On!: The Allentown Band's 175th Anniversary" was published, written by conductor Ronald Demkee.

The Allentown Band is part of Allentown's rich musical heritage of civilian concert bands, which also includes the Marine Band of Allentown, the Municipal Band of Allentown and the Pioneer Band of Allentown.


*1828 to 1851: (Unknown)
*1851 to 1852: Anthony Heinicke
*1853 to 1860: Major Amos Ettinger
*1861 to 1878: William Minninger
*1879: Lucas Westmeyer
*1880 to 1885: Prof. Waldemar Grossman
*1886 to 1926: Martin Klinger
*1926 to 1976: Albertus ("Bert") L. Meyers
*1977: Ronald Sherry
*1978 to Present: Ronald Demkee


* "Our Band Heritage, Volume 1: Revisited"
* "Our Band Heritage, Volume 2: Revisited"
* "Our Band Heritage, Volume 3"
* "Our Band Heritage, Volume 4"
* "Our Band Heritage, Volume 5"
* "Our Band Heritage, Volume 6: A Tribute to John Philip Sousa"
* "Our Band Heritage, Volume 7: A Tribute to Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore"
* "Our Band Heritage, Volume 8: Remembrance of Switzerland"
* "Our Band Heritage, Volume 9: Salute to Bert Meyers"
* "Our Band Heritage, Volume 10: America's Oldest"
* "Our Band Heritage, Volume 11: Salute to Martin Klinger"
* "Our Band Heritage, Volume 12: Band Concert"
* "Our Band Heritage, Volume 13: Spectacular"
* "Our Band Heritage, Volume 14: Ye Ancients"
* "Our Band Heritage, Volume 15: Virtuoso! The Rare and Glorious Sound of Frank Kaderabek"
* "Our Band Heritage, Volume 16: Americans We"
* "Our Band Heritage, Volume 17: Seasons Greetings"
* "Our Band Heritage, Volume 18: Band on Broadway"
* "Our Band Heritage, Volume 19: Sesquicentennial: The Music of John Philip Sousa"
* "Our Band Heritage, Volume 20: A World of Marches"
* "Our Band Heritage, Volume 21: Blockbusters - The Allentown Band & Allen Organ"


Further reading

*cite book
first = Ronald
last = Demkee
year = 2003
publisher = Publishing Plus PA
title = The Band Plays On!: The Allentown Band's 175th Anniversary
id = ISBN 0972615814

ee also

* Allentown, Pennsylvania
* Community band
* Concert band
* Lehigh County, Pennsylvania

External links

* [ Website of The Allentown Band]

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