Circus bands – 2

Another facet of brass bands in the 19th century that was far more prevalent in the USA than here in the UK, was the “professional” band which usually was linked to, or joined up with, the travelling circuses and wild west shows.

Although there were touring bands in the UK, on the theatre and music hall circuit, they were relatively few and tended to be family-based. In a similar fashion to the local village bands in the UK that joined then detached from the Volunteer force, town bands in the USA sometimes were adopted by or took it upon themselves to associate with a passing/travelling show. Many famous bandmasters and march composers learned their skills on the show circuit in the States. Following a query by Betsy Jones, a couple of years ago, I was happy to stumble across Windjammers Inc. [] – an organisation dedicated to the music and history of the circus bands and bandsmen. I was able to provide them with details of some US bands that had toured with shows, together with selected images. This led to my investigating the circus, show and professional side-show bands in Britain, and my paper:

Roll up! Roll up! – 19th century circus and other professional bands in the British Isles

See also my previous blog post on Circus Bands.

Unknown circus band
Unknown circus band
Rippel’s Circus Band 1910
Rice & Dorman Circus Band 1919
Gentry Brothers Circus Band, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
sideshow band supporting “Interesting and Amuseing – Dancing Girls – The Dance of Art – Oriental Dancers”
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