Sounds of the Past Still Echo Here

  • Visit North Central

1926-Band-Portrait-at-Lancaster-St.-SchoolFrom the first warm days of summer through the waning weekends of fall, music fills the air throughout North Central Massachusetts.

And while country singers, rock groups and even polka bands are familiar sights on outdoor stages and bandstands these days, these popular outdoor concerts have a long … very long … history in the region.

In fact, some of the bands have very long histories here, too!

Take the Fitchburg Military Band, a 32-piece professional union band that has been a proud part of the cultural community of Fitchburg since the Civil War! This local favorite takes to the bandstand on the shore of Mirror Lake in the city’s Coggshall Park on Sunday afternoons in August.

Don’t let the name fool you, though — you’ll hear lots more than military marches at these free family concerts. Catering to the young and young at heart, the band performs a variety of selections from Disney film songs to music of the early ’40s.

leominster-2022-BandJust down the road, the Leominster Colonial Band had its beginnings in 1910, five years before Leominster’s incorporation as a city. Gaspare Bisceglia, a 16 year-old apprentice bandmaster, immigrated to Leominster from his native San Giovanni, Italy and soon gathered together fellow immigrant musicians to form a band. Known originally as the “Banda Regione d’Italia,” (Regional Italian Band), it underwent several name changes, becoming first the “Italian Colonial Band,” and eventually, the Leominster Colonial Band.

For more than 80 years, the band has featured the music of composer Domenico Villoni, an Italian-American musician who was one of the leading composers of the “marcia sinfonica” style that was popular with the many Italian bands that existed in the Italian immigrant enclaves in the U.S.

The current Tuesday evening concerts led by longtime conductor Steven Piermarini run from mid-July through early August, and include Broadway show tunes, movie themes — and, of course, marches.

Yes, summer concerts have a long history here, and the music just keeps flowing! Check events calendar section for a list of when and where you can enjoy this New England pleasure in local cities and towns this season.