Concertgoers will step back to Civil War days when they attend the Williamsport Community Concert Association's fourth concert of the season, Saxton's Civil War Cornet Band, at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 10 in the Scottish Rite Auditorium.
Shortly before the Civil War, Henry Saxton of Lexington organized a band that was full of energy and musically and visually entertaining. Saxton's brass ensemble performed in Kentucky for more than 60 years, through the Civil War and into early 20th century. It played concerts and dances and in parades and at funerals, hoping the music would never die.
Thanks to some modern-day musicians, it hasn't.
The Saxton’s Civil War Cornet Band will perform at 3 p.m. March 10 in the Scottish Rite Auditorium, 348 N. Market St.
Reorganized in 1989, Saxton's Band creates the sounds, appearances and conduct of brass bands during the antebellum and Civil War eras.
Historically accurate and professional in performance and operation, the band now travels 5,000 miles yearly to perform in concert halls from Colorado to Florida to New York. Tours to Germany and Taiwan also have taken place. Every piece of music performed is original to the period and is obtained through such sources as the Library of Congress and other libraries having available period band books and arrangements.
Indeed, Saxton's Cornet Band is a Kentucky and national treasure. The band has performed for the inauguration of President George W. Bush and for the National Park Service at sites around the country, including Gettysburg National Military Park. They have performed in concert halls and at universities across America and have played alongside orchestras including the Lexington Philharmonic and the Cleveland Pops.
Saxton's performs regularly at the Great American Brass Band Festival in Danville, Ky., and is visiting artist at the Conner Prairie Museum and at the Ohio Historical Society. Saxton's has been featured on the silver screen and Turner films "Gettysburg" and "The Day Lincoln Was Shot."
During Abraham Lincoln's presidency, there were many special performances by brass bands in Washington, D.C. Saxton's Cornet Band recreates band music heard by President Lincoln between 1861 and 1865. Whole concerts were prepared to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth and featured patriotic tunes like those played on the ground of the White House; dance music from Lincoln inaugural balls and White House parties; operatic melodies enjoyed by the Lincolns on special occasions; and quick step marches played by military bands parading down Pennsylvania Avenue.
A full band consists of 14 musicians and a drum major, but they often perform with an eight-musician group. Most members are from Kentucky, and all are brass and percussion performers who play trumpet, trombone and tuba when not performing with Saxton's. When performing with Saxton's, members perform on cornets, alto and tenor horns, baritone, and percussion. Saxton's has made four albums.
To buy tickets
Single tickets are available at $20, $30 or $35. All seats need to be reserved.
For more ticket information, email: wccatick firstname.lastname@example.org or call Dorothy Maples at 323-6012. Cash or check will be accepted (no credit cards) at the box office on March 10. The box office will open at 2 p.m., one hour before the performance at 3 p.m. For further information about our season, check the website: www.lycoming.org/wcca, or see us on Facebook.