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Town Bands is Historical Society program on April 3

April 1, 2013
Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Frank Heath, Grinnell, will present "History Through Music: Iowa Town Bands, 1860 to 1920" at the Tama County Historical and Geneology Society meeting on Wednesday, April 3 at 7 p.m.

The program will be at the Hisotorical Society Musuem, 200 North Broadway, Toledo, and is free and open to the public.

Heath descibes his program this way:

Article Photos

1914 Toledo Band.

-Toledo Sesquicentennial History Book photo

"The community band, or Cornet Band, played a vital role in Iowa history with fascinating instruments, expensive uniforms, marvelous moustaches, and ambitious programs of classical music. Concerts, parades, picnics, weddings, serenades, fairs, land sales, slaughterhouse openings, skating rinks, reunions, lodge gatherings, fire department tournaments, all needed cornet bands often with elaborate bandwagons. If a town had no band it had no self- respect. Choosing from over 300 town band photos, I 'll show just how thoroughly bands are woven into state history.

"Of course it wasn't always easy. One newspaper said 'No man can learn to play cornet and teach Christianity in the same neighborhood.' From what I can tell, the cornet was as important as the ear of corn; in fact, one man traded a wagon load of corn for a cornet. He probably knew that the first cornet player 'got all the girls.'

"An amateur of long standing, I currently play trombone with the Prairie Jewel Dixieland Band in Grinnell, and have played in community bands from Iowa to Connecticut.

Fact Box

Chronicle ? It Out:

WHAT: Historical Society program - "HistoryThrough Music: Iowa Town Bands, 1860 to 1920"

WHEN:?Wednesday, April 3, 7 p.m.

WHERE:?Tama Co. Historical Society Musem, 200 N. Broadway, Toledo

Free, public invited

"I taught Video Production in high schools in Pennsylvania and Connecticut, had a newspaper column in Rochester, Minn., produced a television program for children and have been published in magazines and books. I have a small collection of old horns and always hope for more.

"We have lived in Iowa for six years, and though I haven't been in every one of those 300 towns, I've visited libraries, museums, newspaper morgues, and historical societies in most of them.

"I am on the board at the Grinnell Historical Museum. I am retired so I can devote more time to history and music. I also play musical saw, but probably won't have time that evening."



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