Based on information in Myra Lord’s A History of the Town of New London, New London’s first band organization was the New London Union Band formed in 1839.
Members decided to form a band “for the cultivation and improvement of our musical faculties.” This band met for several years. Later bands were offshoots of this one, including 1) The Scytheville (Elkins) Cornet Band in the early 1880s; 2) the New London Cornet Band with their constitution dated December 15th, 1888, and a name change to; 3) the New London Cadet Band in 1897. In 1911, the New London Cornet Band was reorganized by William M. Kidder with band concerts held regularly at the New London and Elkins bandstands.
In 1935, Robert Hall of Elkins revived the New London band. Fred Lovely raised funds for a movable bandstand for concerts on the green across from his New London Pharmacy where the Haddad Bandstand is now. That New London band disbanded in 1941, but old photos, uniforms, and music programs are in the archives of the New London Historical Society.
In the spring of 1991, retired Army Colonel John Baum of Potter Place placed an ad in the Kearsarge Shopper inquiring about forming (“rejuvenating”) an area band. Having had responses from what he considered to be enough people, he secured the Andover Elementary School as a place for the first practice. Ten musicians arrived and during that first night of practice they sat at elementary school desks, sans conductor, and played from one piece of music which Col. Baum had purchased to start the music library – a compilation of marches. One member of the 1991 band, Peggy Prew, is still playing with the KCB!
From that inauspicious beginning the Kearsarge Community Band has grown to around 50 members and now boasts full instrumentation and a cadre of talented musicians who play with the band year-round. We have not lost sight of the original intent of the 1839 band, to “cultivate our musical faculties,” and to have fun!Click here to see more images from the band’s past.