Series: Fraternal Bands
The town band was a source of pride for a community. It was a tangible symbol of the affluence of the community, it gave evidence of the level of talent and accomplishment within the community, and it helped to boost the morale of the citizens. For the same reasons, many fraternal organizations also supported their own bands. These bands represented the organization's affluence, its talented membership, and its communal spirit.
When one thinks of fraternal bands, the bands sponsored by the "fraternal orders" immediately come to mind. In early 20th-century Iowa, the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, the Knights of Pythias, and the International Order of Odd Fellows were some of the most popular. But one also finds bands sponsored by various religious organizations, ethnic societies, and professional guilds and associations. Even some bands sponsored by private companies would seem meet to the criteria outlined above, although promoting the company was another important objective of these bands.
Regardless of the fact that fraternal bands drew their membership and financial support from a self-contained social unit within a town, these towns took pride in their fraternal bands and did not hesitate to claim these bands as representatives of the town itself.