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The Belchertown Community Band - Celebrating our 34th season

About The Belchertown Community Band

Established in the spring of 1986, by returning native Chris Harper, the Belchertown Community Band is a non-profit corporation managed by a year-round volunteer steering committee.

Our director, Michael Bauer, is special in his acceptance of all; we have been fortunate to have the continuity of his leadership for many seasons.  The BCB has grown yearly in both membership and its regular audience, those who loyally attend every concert.  From a first season of "a cacophony of sound" with little more than a dozen players, the volunteer musician membership is around 200 with an average concert band of 90, depending on work and vacation schedules.  Audiences have grown from 75 to well over 500.  The group offers a rare opportunity in its mix of young and old (ages 10 to 85), amateurs and professionals, male and female, town residents and representatives from 17 area communities.

The support of our town and its officials, the School Department, the local news media, businesses, our patrons, and our audience has been overwhelming.  We are blessed with the lovely, traditional setting for our concerts, which makes it ideal for families and picnics.  Our audience consists of many local people as well as those who travel from surrounding towns to attend the concerts.  It is indeed a brotherhood of music.

Music in Belchertown's History

Music, culture, and education have long been prominent in Belchertown's history.  In the 1800s, wealthy New Yorkers, Mt. Holyoke College students, and others regularly flocked to the resort hotels on either end of the common.  Even at the turn of the century, they were treated to musical selections, including those of the Boy Soprano, Ray Gould.

Brass bands, town bands, and boys' bands, other names for community bands, were flourishing in the area.  Ray Gould, BHS class of 1907, was now a bass drummer, appearing now and then at the 'bandstand', which was originally a judges' stand for horse races run around the common.  In the 1920s, minstrel shows, fraternity parties, taverns, silent films and vaudeville theaters in Springfield resonated with the sounds of Ray at his ragtime piano.

In the 1930s, Ray and his son Sherm, played outdoor concerts and parades with the Ware "Boys' Band between Ray's dance band gigs.  Sherm, BHS '38, regretted that he had to go all the way to Tufts Summer School to play his trombone in a young peoples' band.  In 1954 he, Marion Shaw, and Rachel Shumway formed a committee.  By 1955 an instrumental music program had begun in the town schools and a director was hired.  Joseph Contino from the UMASS Department of Music would lead the fledgling group for almost a decade.  Bob Wilson, BHS '61, played trumpet in that Jr.-Sr. High School group, and Chris (Gould) Harper, BHS '65, played the oboe parts on her flute in the under 30-piece band.  From the late 1960s to the mid-1980's the music program continued to grow under the direction of Leland Cornielle, joined later by David Jacobson.

Please join us as we continue the renewed tradition of musical performances on the Common in Belchertown with the 34th season of the Belchertown Community Band!


The Belchertown Community Band performs during the summer.  "Concerts on the Common" start late in July and run thru August.

Concerts are held rain or shine.  In the event of inclement weather, the concert venue is moved to Belchertown High School Veterans' Auditorium.