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Child "tries out" trombone of Lawrence City Band member, July 1999
Two-year-old Anthony VanSchmus tries the trombone of Lawrence City Band member Tom Stidham, right, July 1999. Photo by Richard Gwin/Journal-World

Lawrence City Band: Summer Concerts in the Park

This unique and historic band traces its roots to August 1863 when Lawrence was a new community comprised almost entirely of emigrants from New England. The New England Emigrant Aid Society (from Boston) furnished the original instruments, music, and uniforms, and the first performance was presented on a beautiful summer evening, which, as fate would have it, was the night before the infamous raid on Lawrence by William Clark Quantrill and his men. In the raid the next morning, all but one of the original band were killed. Even with this rough beginning, band music was quickly established as an important part of the culture of this community, and today, some 137 years later, the Lawrence City Band continues its tradition of presenting free concerts in its picturesque gazebo bandstand in historic downtown South Park on Wednesday nights in the summer.

The Lawrence City Band was designed the most popular free summer entertainment in the community by the Lawrence Journal World newspaper. People come from as far as 60 miles away every week to attend their popular concerts.

The project is documented by text, letters, newspaper articles, programs, flyers, and a CD of a 1982 concert.

Originally submitted by: Dennis Moore, Representative (3rd District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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