Silver Cornet Band kicks off new season

The Silver Cornet Band opened their 160th year with a concert at Bandstand Park. (By Drew Frye)

The Silver Cornet Band of Franklin kicked off the season with their first concert of the summer at Bandstand Park.

Local residents came out despite unfavorable weather to hear one of the oldest community bands in the U.S. play their first concert.

The Silver Cornet Band opened their 160th year with the piece, “The Silver Cornet March.”

Terri Wittreich, the conductor of the Silver Cornet Band, is leading an ensemble of 105 members on the current roster.

Members range from 45 to 50 musicians per concert.

Dick Eshelman is the longest active continuous member of the band, boasting 71 year of service. Some members of the band are as young as 13 and 14 years old.

Spectators lined the lawn of Bandstand Park, sat in lawn chairs they brought with them, ate popcorn provided and listened to the musical pieces the band performed.

“I’ve been retired 24 years, so I’ve been attending these concerts on Thursdays as long as it’s not raining for that many years,” said Donald Palmer. “I’m a former employee of Joy and I worked the 3-11 p.m. shift so I missed a lot of these concerts. I’m glad I can attend them now. I enjoy the music The Silver Cornet Band performs.”

Members of the audience all seemed to think that these concerts in the park are a tradition in the community and families are able to enjoy a very friendly atmosphere in Bandstand Park.

“I’ve been attending these concerts for over 20 years,” said Doris Feather. “We enjoy the music, they provide a taste of talent and we like events in the park because they support our local community.”

“Franklin is very beautiful, so I enjoy being here,” Feather added.

The Silver Cornet Band will continue local tradition and perform over the course of the summer, in local parades and local events. They will also perform in the Barrow-Civic Theater after Thanksgiving as is done every year.