The 1920's and 1930's were good years for the Band. The Band organized an international band
association and sponsored band festivals. These festivals included groups from Vermont, New
Hampshire, and Canada. The crowds attending these concerts often numbered in the thousands.
The World War II years saw 23 members of the Band serve in active duty in the armed forces.
All 23 of these members survived the war with many earning decorations for meritorious service.
While so many men were serving the war effort, women were allowed to join the Band for the first
time. Their contribution was significant and continues so to this day.
Since the 1950's, the St. Johnsbury Band has continued to play and delight the St. Johnsbury
community and communities in surrounding states. The Band's Monday night outdoor concerts
during the summer in the bandstand in Courthouse Park have been a longstanding tradition
enjoyed by all ages. Memorial Day and Veterans Day parades also see the Band participating. Arthur
Fiedler of the Boston Pops became an honorary conductor in 1978. The Band frequently plays at
fall foliage celebrations and joins the St. Johnsbury School and St. Johnsbury Academy bands
for an annual spring Festival of Bands performance. The Band also has a longstanding tradition
of performing in the Woodsville-Wells River 4th of July Parade and presenting a 4th of July
evening concert in North Woodstock, NH.
The St. Johnsbury Band represented the State of Vermont on Vermont Day at the Eastern States
Exposition (the Big "E") in 2002 and 2003. The Band played a midday concert and then performed
later in the day at the big parade through the Big "E" fairgrounds. One year was highlighted by
riding on the top deck of a red Peter Pan bus with Captain Hook and Peter Pan while the other
year was marked for performing in the parade before a record crowd of over 154,000 guests!
Challenges are not new to the St. Johnsbury Band either. In 1999, the Band combined forces
with a unit of the Vermont National Guard and performed a full version of the 1812 Overture,
complete with cannon, for the 4th of July. The Band performed in the 1st Annual Lake George
Band festival in Lake George, NY as part of its 175th anniversary in 2005. A Farmer's Night
concert in the rotunda of the Statehouse in Montpelier, Vermont was yet another highlight in
Former Governor Jim Douglas was the guest conductor to open the Band's summer 2012 season. Governor Douglas is a musician and has
performed with other groups in Vermont. He was a very able conductor.
Peggy Pearl, the director of the St. Johnsbury History & Heritage Center (St. Johnsbury History &
Heritage Center), wrote this brief history of the Band. This appeared in The Caledonian-Record (6/27/2012). Click
here to read the article.
The Band enjoys serving the community of St. Johnsbury with its opening summer concert at
the St. Johnsbury Health and Rehabilitation Center and closing each season with its annual
Christmas concert which includes a visit from Santa himself!
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Page last updated on November 21, 2012