News: Spencer History - Bands


Surnames: Thayer, Conklin, Siemers, Graves, Damon, Pickett, Raabe, Reas, Boock, Hamel, Parrette, Tack

Source: Spencer Centennial Book (1874 – 1974)

Spencer had a number of bands which were organized by individuals and supported by the Village Board to present concerts and perform during celebrations.

The first band was organized before 1900 by J. P. Thayer who was one of Spencer's first settlers and a mill owner. He was very much interested in music and in the youth of the area. He taught a class in cornet and formed the Spencer Cornet Band.

The Spencer Tribune, May 24, 1886 gives the following item: "The band boys will give a dance in the new music hall May 15 to which all are cordially invited. The boys will use the money derived to purchase uniforms and new music. The band has always shown a willingness to play for the public on all occasions, free gratis. They will play a few selections and the balance of the evening will be given to dancing. Again we say attend the affair and by your presence show your appreciation for the boys of the Spencer Cornet Band."

In 1902 Rev. A. N. Conklin, a Methodist minister, organized a band of young boys and men. The ladies of the Women's Relief Corps and Methodist Church made their band purchased their own caps. The band played at Loyal for the G. A. R. Convention. When they had to stay overnight, they slept on the hay in the barn.

Spencer also had a small park located between the National House on the corner of Clark and LaSalle Streets and Farrington's Store where Gambles is now located. There was a band stand from which Public Concerts were presented.

About 1908, there was a 14 piece band called the Spencer Brass Band and they played for a number of years. In 1912 they played at the Rib Lake Fourth of July Celebration. Shortly after the Brass Band was organized, an orchestra was formed by five members of the band, Herman Siemers, Wayne Graves, Seth Damon, Lee Pickett, and George Raabe, with Mae Reas playing the piano.

In the early 1900's, another City Band was formed by some talented young men and they performed for local activities and at times combined with the Edgar City Band for some performances. Directors of bands for a short time were Art Boock and M. G. Hamel.

Mr. Hamel also organized and instructed a Junior Band. By the time of the 1936 Spencer Homecoming Celebration, a 50 piece combined band performed. Out of the junior band several younger members became good musicians and played in their school band.

Mr. Ray Parrette recalls one time when the City Band traveled to Milwaukee to play at the Wisconsin State Fair. Some went by car, others traveled in a converted bus-type truck.

Out of this group a little German Band was formed with Ray Parrette, Herman Siemers, Ray Tack, and others who provided great amusement at their performances.



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