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Maine History Online
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Strike Up the Band

Text by Candace Kanes

Images from Maine Historical Society, Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum, Bucksport Historical Society, Monson Historical Society, Portland Harbor Museum, and Stockholm Historical Society.

Town bands, which became popular following the Civil War, offered music education to boys and men, employment to musicians, and entertainment to communities.

While the popularity of such bands decreased following World War I when other entertainments rose in popularity, many town and organizational bands continued. By the middle of the 20th century, the bands began accepting women members.

Chandler's Band in Portland is one of the pre-Civil War bands that survives today in an era of renewed interest in community bands.