The Medina Community Band traces its beginnings back to 1859, when a group of local residents got together (some with formal training - others without) to perform music for the community. That first "community band" was called The Medina Silver Cornet Band, probably since the instruments the musicians used were primarily "silver" cornets or percussion. Then, as now, the band performed on the public square. Medina's uptown park was set aside in 1817 and cleared in 1819. During the next two decades, the park was used as a parade ground for local militia and for town celebrations. In the 1840s, the square was enclosed with a white picket fence to keep cattle being driven to market off the square.
During the 156-years that the band has been in existence there have been 20 directors. Marcus Neiman, who became conductor in the fall of 1972, has served longest. The band probably existed at the pleasure of the square's business community, who often funded the season and encouraged patrons to attend the concerts. The performance night has changed over the years, in most cases at the urging of the business community. Season concerts have been given on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings. Friday evenings have been the day of choice since the 1950s.
It should be stated that the Medina Community Band was only one of several bands in Medina County. Almost every town had its own band, and a just a few to mention were the Litchfield, Lodi, Seville, Spencer, and Wadsworth bands. There were also school bands (from both the city and county districts) and even a Boy Scout band (in Westfield Center). The Medina Community Band’s name evolved over the years as the Medina Silver Cornet Band, Medina Band, Grand Army of the Republic Band, Knights of Pythias Band, and now the Medina Community Band.
The size of the band varied from 15 to 20 musicians through the end of the 19th century. The band now boasts almost 100 members on its personnel roster. It should be understood that the "band" did not always perform in the Gazebo. During those early years, the band played on various corners of the square. The current Victorian style Gazebo that sits at the center of the Square was completed in 1975. Since the Gazebo will only allow 30 to 35 players, the band itself determines "who will play" each Friday night concert based on attendance at practice or business and vacation schedules of band members. Thus, the personnel for every Friday concert is different!
It is interesting to note that members of the band travel from all parts of Northeastern Ohio to play with the group. Entire families (from grandparents to grandchildren) are members of the band and it is most common to find husbands and wives, or parents and children playing in the group. Membership is open and there are no dues or auditions; however, members are expected to maintain a regular attendance. There are no “ringers” in the performance – what you see is what we have!
Medina Community Band is sponsored by the Medina Community Band Association composed of members of Medina Community Band. The band rehearses on Wednesday evening from 7p until 9p in the band room of Highland High School (4150 Ridge Road, Medina) September through May and at Highland Middle School (3880 Ridge Road, Medina) June through July. The band performs three to four concerts during the fall, winter, and spring months both at home and on the road. The band also presents its popular summer series every Friday, June through July, in Medina's Uptown Park Gazebo. For additional information on the 2014-15 concert season or Medina Community Band, contact Neiman at 330.725.8198 or MarcusNeiman@medinacommunityband.org