History of the Upper Valley Community Band
Like all things in New England, this band has some history. Our journey begins in the 1860s. The first modern band of this area emerged during the Civil War, composed of the Norwich Militia cadets. They were dedicated to parades and patriotic ceremonies. When the Academy moved to Northfield, VT, so did the cadets - opening space for a new band to form in 1914. Made up of members from the YMCA, this band proudly played for parades and seated concerts. They also played political rallies, but only for the candidates of their choice. This is the land of the #livefreeordie, after all.
Famous faces of Norwich were in the band, including Fred Metcalf, Don Bridgman, Charles Huntley, Dean Merrill, and Dale and JH Nelson. With the advent of gas rationing in the 1940s, the band went on hiatus.
In the 1970's and 80's, UVCB reinvigorated its mission as the summer band, playing bi-weekly concerts on the lawn of Dartmouth Hall and the bandstand, in addition to parades.
In 1984, the seasons of UVCB extended past autumn, to establish the more symphonic tone of the winter band. Their debut concert was at the Lebanon Opera House.
The name Upper Valley Community Band was adopted in 1990, renaming the formerly Hanover-Norwich band, to better represent the hometowns of all members present.
Everyone in the Upper Valley community is invited to play. To participate in the band, one should be able to read music and have command of their instrument. The band’s normal activities include parades, concerts, patriotic, and seasonal events throughout the year.
Membership has waxed and waned over the years, marking a 70+ member band in 2016, a 100+ member band in 2019, and a hearty 40+ who braved the COVID19 pandemic to continue playing.
1994 - Annual Convention of the Association of Concert Bands in Burlington, VT.
2010 - Boston Festival of Bands, sponsored by the Metropolitan Wind Symphony, featuring bands from all over the northeast.
1997-1999 - "Hands Across the Sea" musical/cultural exchange with the town band of Heimsheim, Germany (Musikverein Stadtkapelle Heimsheim). The German band came to the Upper Valley to perform a joint concert with the UVCB at the Lebanon Opera House. In 1999, the UVCB toured Austria and Germany, before traveling to Heimsheim to play together again.
2001 - National Festival of States, Washington, DC. A 225th celebration of the Declaration of Independence, the UVCB represented NH and VT.
2007 - International music festival in Joigny, France.
2013 - Farmers’ Night at the Vermont State House
Annual - Pie & Ice Cream Concert in Etna, hosted by First Baptist Church of Hanover in Etna and the Etna Ladies Aid Society, featuring UVCB and freshly homemade pies, with fillings sourced by local farms.
We are proud to be a part of the musical heritage of the Upper Valley.