History of The New Holland Band

The original New Holland Band was formed in 1829 as part of a regional militia unit, consisting of only fifes and drums. In 1856 the band organized under the direction of the late Isaac Witwer as the Earl Infantry Band, and was reorganized for Civil War field duty in 1864 as the 203rd Regimental Band of the Pennsylvania Volunteers. In 1865, after returning home, they were known as the New Holland Citizen's Band and were sometimes referred to as the New Holland Brass Band and the New Holland Cornet Band.

In the early 1900's, the band became affiliated with the Patriotic Order Sons of America lodge as the P.O.S. of A. Band. This group disbanded in 1915 and was replaced by the Erisman Witmer Citizen's Band which disbanded in 1925 and was in turn replaced by the Boys Band organized by the local Lions Club. The band was again reorganized during World War II as the Victory Band of New Holland. A final reorganization as the New Holland Band occurred in 1958, and that name has been retained to the present.

Prior to World War II the main function of the band was ceremonial in nature, both for civilian and military affairs. During the Victory Band Era however, the foundations for the present concert band were laid. In the years since it was first formed the New Holland Band has evolved from a military parade and light concert band to the present symphonic band. Its work has also changed, as old-time picnics, carnivals, and festivals have been replaced by public concerts in parks, churches, and schools. In 1974 the band expanded the scope of its activities further with a European tour centered around New Holland's sister city, Longvic, France. In addition to concerts in and around Longvic, the band performed in Paris and Dijon and in La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland.

The New Holland Band has incorporated as a non-profit organization and received its charter in 1959. It functions according to a constitution and by-laws which establishes a board of directors to manage the affairs of the band. Tax-exempt status was granted in 1977 due to the band's educational and musical attributes. All performances are by contractual arrangement.

The membership includes professional and non-professional musicians along with college and high school student musicians. Included also are persons from all walks of life such as educators, bankers, accountants, salespersons, executives, industrial workers, carpenters, clerks, nurses, homemakers, managers, electricians, and exterminators. Most musicians, especially the younger musicians, serve an apprenticeship of several seasons before being considered for active membership status. Active membership is conferred based on competence, need, and availability of opportunity.

 

Additional Pictures:

Oldest known photograph of a new Holland Band member, JC Henninger, 1889

Built in 1868 and still standing on Main Street today, the Witwer building hosted band rehearsals for decades

The Boys Band of New Holland

 

The Victory Band of New Holland pictured in 1942

 

Performing on the steps of the US Capitol in 1975

 

The band performing in Harrisburg in 2005

 

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Copyright 2017 The New Holland Band, Inc., P.O. Box 345, New Holland, PA, 17557-0345