During the period before radio and television, one popular form of entertainment was to visit local parks and picnic areas. At most community events a local band or musical group would often provide entertainment. One of the first organized bands that served the Fredericksburg area was formed in 1908 although their roots stretched back to the days shortly after the end of the Civil War. George Kirst Sr. who operated a Tinsmith shop in the town square, and a veteran of the war played the cornet, organized a local band to entertain the people of the town. Nearly 50 years later, the band came under the leadership of his son Harry Kirst and still later after World War I under with James Bohn of neighboring Lickdale at the helm. Before the Cornet Band was formed there was another band that served the town in the 1870’s that was called the Fredericksburg Union Brass Band. It survived a number of years, eventually many of it’s members joining the cornet band.
The Lebanon Daily News reported on November 28, 1908 that a charter application was made and granted for the band; “Notice is hereby given that an application will be made to the Court of Common Pleas of Lebanon County on the 21st day of December, 1908, under the Provisions of the Corporation Act of 1874, and its supplements, by John Hoffa, Martin Wise, Harry Kirst, Frank Brown, and M. L. Wagner, of Fredericksburg, Lebanon County, PA for a charter for an intended corporation to be called “Fredericksburg Cornet Band” the character and object of which is the promotion of music, and for this purpose to have possess and enjoy all the privileges, rights, and benefits conferred by the said Act and it’s supplements. Eugene D. Siegrist-Solicitor”.
The names of the band members have changed over the years. The photograph shows the band pictured in front of the Tinsmith shop of George W. Kirst & Son at 107 W. Main Street about 1913. Click on picture for larger image.
Those pictured are identified;
Trumpet-Harry E. Boeshore
Cornet-Harry Kirst-Band Leader
Cornet-Clayton S. Cassel
Cornet-Robert U. Boeshore
Alto (French Horn)-Riley J. Morgan
Alto-(French Horn)- Claude M. Gassert
Alto-(French Horn)-Joseph G. Bross
Alto-(French Horn)-Morris L. Wagner
Tenor Horn-John L. Wise
Baritone-John O. Hoffa
Tenor Horn-Martin Wise
Bass-William H. Boeshore
Photograph Courtesy of Author Michael L. Strauss