Series: Town Bands
Group Portraits - I
"The mission of a brass band in a community is for good. Perhaps no other single feature can contribute so much to a towns life and pleasure. This being a fact, it is but just that a band should be looked upon, in a measure, as a public institution, and this view makes its success a matter of interest to every citizen."
So wrote the editor of The Battle Creek Times in a March 19, 1908 item celebrating the news that Battle Creek's town band was reorganizing after a hiatus. The editor was not alone in this sentiment. One finds similar expressions in other newspapers from across the state and nation.
Towns took tremendous pride in their bands. Citizens and - especially - businessmen were called upon to support their local band through subscriptions, since a well equipped and uniformed band was seen as an expression of the town's spirit and prosperity.
The band members themselves also took great pride in being a part of the band, as is evidenced in their expressions and bearing in these group portraits. Many of these images are preserved on postcards which were the early 20th-century equivalent of "texting." These postcards were purchased and used by the thousands, all the while bearing silent testimony of each town's civic achievement.