We play summer concerts in local communities. We play a variety of music -- Swing, Old Standards, Blues, Patriotic, Marches, Show tunes, and contemporary pieces. Besides the Concert Band, we also have a Dixie Land group called the CAB 5.
Music and musicians in and around Cassadaga, New York go a long way back, according to Lucielle 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, Mr. West organized the first Cassadaga Concert Band, but to have enough musicians, he called on people from Sinclairville (including Mrs. Meyers in 1932) to join in. For several years, Mrs. 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 Walter West on Baritone; and Leonard Foote, David Josephson and Albert Bulger on Drums. Mr. West and Mrs. 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 in the 1950's.
However, Mrs. Meyers was instrumental in reorganizing the musicians for Cassadaga's bicentennial celebration in 1976. The band has continued ever since. When Mrs. Meyers retired in 1986, Edward Bremer of Dunkirk took over the band director's job. Perhaps 10 years later (help me here) Mr. 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.
We should thank Joan Josephson (from the OBSERVER Cassadaga Bureau) for a newspaper article titled "Roots of Cassadaga Area Band are traced back as far as 1903" that appeared the year that Mr. Bremer gave Mr. Straight the baton.