About the Wildcats

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The Bandsmen

Band on Stage in Meadville, Pa

The Wildcat Regiment Band today is comprised of musicians of all ages and from various professional backgrounds. Like their predecessors, the current bandsmen have been recruited from the same geographical area in Pennsylvania and come from all walks of life.




Locations

The Wildcat Band has performed for historic and civic events throughout the Eastern United States. National Park Service engagements include regular visits to Antietam, Sharpsburg, Maryland, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Harpers Ferry, Manassas, and Monocacy.

The Wildcats perform extensively in Western Pennsylvania and at musical festivals and other events in towns such as Bethlehem and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and Wheeling, West Virginia.

The band has been invited to perform in the Governor's Residence in Harrisburg as well as the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. The Wildcats have been fortunate to participate in musical events at the Smithsonian Institution and the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.

The band also performs at 19th century balls, dances, and cotillions, and conducts lectures and demonstrations that address the history of the 19th century brass band movement and the evolution of brass instruments.

The Instruments

The cornets and saxhorns played by the wildcat Band today were the same instruments Saxhorn Bells that were in service during battle and dress parades in 1861. All of the horns played date from the Civil War era, some as early as 1845. Refurbished with the skill of a true craftsman, these instruments are once again playing the melodies heard more than a century ago.

Among the instruments making up The Wildcat Regiment Band today are valved bugles, cornets, and an assortment of alto, tenor, baritone and bass saxhorns and rope tension drums. The various designs of horns introduce the audience to the assortment of instruments common in that period. One such design was referred to as the "over the shoulder" horn. This particular pattern was very popular with military bands and was used in parade format so troops following the band could clearly hear the music.

The Music

Much of regimental band music that was performed had its roots in the small town "cornet bands" of the 19th century. MusicIt was natural for their music to accompany the bandsmen as they filled the ranks of the regimental band. Quicksteps, ballads, overtures and marches played by The Wildcat Regiment Band today are the same musical pieces that once touched the lives of soldiers and civilians, providing comfort, encouragement and a spirit of patriotism. Reading Handwritten musicMany of these original 19th century arrangements have been taken from band books found in the archives of the Smithsonian institution and Library of Congress, as well as from private collections. Among the selections performed are "Captain Shepherd's Quickstep", Darling Nellie Gray Quickstep", "When the Swallows Homeward Fly", "Polonaise" (The Last Rose of Summer) and "Nabucco". Through the year, when the band is not scheduled for performances, much time is devoted to research of original music to add to the band's continually expanding repertoire.



The Dress

From brass buttons and simple hand stitching, to wooden pegged brogans, the Wildcat Regiment Band brings authenticity in dress and manner. The band's uniforms - sewn from natural wool fibers - are authentic in every detail, and have been patterned from actual specimens worn by Pennsylvania bandsmen in the Union army. This authenticity in dress presents the audience with the most accurate appearance possible...next to actually living during the 1860's.


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