Ninth Separate Company Military Band – 1891

In December of 1891 another band, a brass one, was organized in Whitehall and called the Citizens Band. The conductor was Professor W.W. Howe of Whitehall Union School and the leader, M.L. McIntyre.

A month later the Citizens Band became known as the Ninth Separate Company Military Band. Its 17 young members enlisted in the National Guard and were subject to the rules governing the members of the Burleigh Corps.

The band purchased $250 worth of new instruments and $75 worth of new music. Its first public complimentary appearance was at a grand benefit concert 2 February 1892 in Armory Hall located in Anderson Hall. The members made a splendid appearance with their scarlet grenadier coats, navy blue pantaloons with black stripes, and shiny new instruments. Despite a blinding snow storm, 300 people turned out to hear nine pieces of popular music. Professor Howe had been presented with an ebony baton with silver trimmings which he wielded for the first time on this occasion.

The band declared its purpose not to be a mercenary organization but to entertain the public, when the weather permitted, with free open air concerts at regular intervals. But to help them in their heavy outlay they asked for a heavy patronage for a concert and ball 23 February. The concert was given in Music Hall and the ball in Armory Hall with 100 couples dancing until 3 a.m. A net profit of $80 was realized.

In March this band gave a concert in Fair Haven’s Knight’s Hall to aid the Fair Haven band who had lost all their instruments and music in a fire.

So pleased were the citizens and businessmen of Whitehall with this band that a decision was made to provide them with a band stand. Several sites were considered; on the east side between the Times office and the Adams building (Eatery) on the east side of Wood creek nearly opposite the Chronicle building (at that time in the I.O.O.F. Hall.

The final decision was between the foot bridge and Adams photography building in front of the Chronicle building, the east bank of the creek was graded and terraced. The building was thus described: octagonal in structure, mounted on supports so the floor was nearly level with the street; from each corner raised turned pillars of wood supporting a low steeple roof surmounted by a wooden sphere. Neat railings extended around the base of the structure while under the eaves were attractive trimmings in scroll saw work. The stand was ceiled overhead, the lowest point in the ceiling being the center from which an arc light was suspended.

Israel L. Rush circulated the subscription paper and so popular was the project that $120 was raised in one day. H. G. Burleigh was the largest subscriber with $25.

The first concert of the season in the new band stand was given on a Friday evening in May. It rained heavily in the afternoon but the band assembled in the evening dressed in heavy overcoats. A crowd of 200 soon assembled. The following Monday a large group of 1500 people were grouped on the foot bridge, on Williams street, and on the middle bridge. Thus began the summer open air concerts that the Ninth Separate Company Military Band had promised, in the new bandstand.

Doris B. Morton, Town Historian – The Whitehall Times – April 12, 1973

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