"Historic Highlights" for Gilford Steamer’s 5 August 2004 issue

Carter Mountain Brass Band at Bandstand Aug. 11th

Thompson-Ames Historical Society has engaged the Carter Mountain Brass Band to perform in concert at Weeks’ Bandstand in the Gilford Village Field on Wednesday evening, August 11th. The concert, which is offered free to the public, will begin at 7:30 p.m. In case of rain, the program will be held in the gymnasium of Gilford Middle School.

Music has been a thread in the tapestry of Gilford’s cultural heritage dating back to the early 1800s. This can be attested to, in part, by items on display in the "Old Tyme Music" display case in Grange Hall.

The Gilford Musical society, Inc., was in existence in 1821 with Aaron

C. Blaisdell as the organization’s leader and VP, while William C. Blaisdell served as president and Benjamin Jewett, III, as secretary. Aaron C. Blaisdell’s great, great granddaughter Mrs. Bertha Jewett, gave to Thompson-Ames Historical Society, Aaron Blaisdell’s personal copy of the vintage book The Village Harmony with an explanatory note that "Ye ‘grate’ choir of~ voices used to assemble at the old Gunstock Hill Meetinghouse for to sing."

Also on display are items that relate to Blaisdell’s Band, which was organized in 1896, and Eunice L. Hunt’s 1949 notes, which help us learn some details about this important Gilford band, including information that the band played on Memorial Days, at band concerts in the Weirs, and at contests.

William P. Blaisdell, the band’s director, sang and played the cornet. In 1950, Mrs. Bertha Jewett and Miss Marion Blaisdell saw fit to give to T-AHS the first coronet of William Blaisdell, an instrument also used by Curtis Wilkenson. In 1952, Mr. Lincoln Hatch gave to T-AHS the bass horn owned and used by David Hatch in the Gilford Band. In the mid-i 990s Raymond Wixson, who was then president of T-AHS, arranged to have Eric and Geoff Beyrent play these vintage musical instruments as a special featured program. John Beyrent assures us that these historic instruments can be refurbished so that they can be played to show their unique quality -- potential items for T-AHS’s "to do" list.

The concept of a community band in Gilford is still alive and well, as we all know. The folks from Gilford and surrounding areas gladly mark their calendars for up—coming performances and turn out with eager anticipation to listen to and applaud the efforts of dedicated local talent. It’s especially motivating when Gilford’s 1976 vintage Weeks’ Bandstand becomes the site for performances during the summertime, with Gilford’s Old Home Day offering gala fireworks as an exclamation mark.

When we sat down this past winter to plan T-AHSs programs for 2004, a suggestion was made to invite the Carter Mountain Brass Band to come to Gilford for a Wednesday evening when Gilford’s Community Band wasn’t scheduled to perform. The idea caught on, the details worked out, and Wednesday evening, August 11th was selected for Thompson-Ames Historical Society to offer this as a bonus to the folks of Gilford and surrounds.

The Carter Mountain Brass Band draws on the traditions for the 19th century brass bands -- both American town bands and company sponsored British brass bands. The scientific advances in metallurgy in the 19th century led to the development of standardized and mass-produced brass instruments. This meant that ordinary citizens could afford to own and play a brass instrument. As a result, brass bands became an extremely popular form of entertainment by the late 1800s.

Just as their predecessors did, the band members play for the enjoyment and self-satisfaction of producing high quality music, both as individuals and as a group. The members of the Carter Mountain Brass Band are amateurs in the true sense of the word (from the Latin "amator", "to love"). Their backgrounds, jobs, education, and ages may differ widely; but they have one thing in common —- love of good music.

Jim Chesebrough, present conductor of the Gilford Community Band, will step up as guest conductor for the August 11th performance of the Carter Mountain Brass Band.

Part One of the evening’s program will begin at 7:30 p.m. with the "Star Spangled Banner". Highlights will include the "German Brass Band Medley", "The Beer Barrel Polka", "Waltzing Matilda", "Pigeon Wing Rag", "Amazing Grace", "God Bless America", and the "American Patrol". John Beyrent’s touch will he evident throughout the evening as he has capably arranged many of the selections.

Whether you choose to sit in your lawn chair or sprawl out on your blanket, you are sure to enjoy "A Spirited Tour Through Musical Time"-- a bonus gift to you from Thompson-Ames Historical Society, as we continue to strive to preserve and celebrate Gilford’s cultural heritage.