Some years ago, trombone player and old town band music fan, David Climenhage established the Great Canadian Town Band Festival in the small town of Orono, east of Toronto. While the festival no longer operates, Climenhage has now focused on another aspect of his interest in the music of the early town bands in Canada. When he got together with Toronto musician Herbert Poole they discovered that they had a common interest in the collection and restoration of old brass musical instruments. They soon decided that, since their instruments were made to produce music, not just to be admired, they should form a band.
The result is Orono Cornet Band which performs the music of the period when the instruments were built. The result is this recording with music composed between 1855 and 1890. Top flight musicians performing on period instruments, ranging from cornets to such lesser-known oddities as the ophicleide and helicon, provide a rare insight into the musical life of small town Canada before motion pictures, radio or television. Where else could you hear such works for a town dance as the Take Me Home Quickstep or the Blue Dahlia Polka Mazurka. Unfortunately, there are no program notes, and while I had never heard of any of the composers, a little research provided much information on one of them. F. H. Torrington founded the Toronto College of Music which became the first music affiliate of the University of Toronto. In 1894 he conducted the very first concert in Massey Hall. For devotees of early brass band music this recording is a must.