Cassadaga Area Band to perform Thursday night

SINCLAIRVILLE – The Cassadaga Area Band is playing its fifth and last performance of the summer in Sinclairville on Thursday at 7 p.m.

The free concert will be in the town park. The Band will be in the village gazebo.

Music and musicians in and around Cassadaga go a long way back, according to Lucille Meyers’ “Small History of Cassadaga Bands.”

Back in 1903, Walter West and Bennett Smith played in a nine-member band known as the Cassadaga Silver Cornet Band. Around 1926, West organized the first Cassadaga Concert Band, but to have enough musicians, he called on people from Sinclairville (including Meyers in 1932) to join in. For several years, Meyers was the only girl in the band.

The band would practice on Mondays, alternating between Sinclairville and Cassadaga.

For Saturday night concerts, Dr. Bruckheimer would close his Maple Avenue office early and join the band to play piccolo.

One August during World War II, the band met to rehearse or play 25 times.

The 1947 band roster included Everett Webster, Virginia Springer and Elizabeth Fox on clarinet; Manley Derby, Jackie Larson, Ray and Lucille Meyers on trumpet; the Rev. Atwell Allen, William Fredrickson, Harold Waite and Pat Waite on saxophone; Robert Holtz and Mary Ann Harper on horn; Harry MacCubbin and Paul Stratton on trombone; Leslie Johnson and Herbert Buchanan on bass; Leslie Straight and West on baritone; and Leonard Foote, David Josephson and Albert Bulger on drums.

West and Meyers were the co-directors of the band at this time.

Around 1949, Clifford Cornish took over the band director’s job until it discontinued playing sometime in the 1950s.

However, Meyers was instrumental in reorganizing the musicians for Cassadaga’s bicentennial celebration in 1976. The band has continued ever since.

When Meyers retired in 1986, Edward Bremer of Dunkirk took over the band director’s job.

Perhaps 10 years later Bremer passed the baton to John Straight of Cassadaga, a music teacher and the son of the late Leslie Straight, one of the 1947 band members.

The Band continues to enjoy playing swing, old standards, marches, blues, show tunes, and overtures every summer. This “band” of various musicians and conductors delightedly carry on this old American Tradition

See you at the concert.