An Ann Arbor-based ensemble that recreates the nation’s premier brass band from the 1840s-1880s will perform at Fort Wilkins Historic State Park in Keweenaw County this month.
The Dodworth Saxhorn Band is based upon the acclaimed Independent Band of New York City, which was founded by the Dodworth family in 1825.
The band’s performance at Fort Wilkins will be at 7 p.m. July 27 on the west barracks porch. The concert will be moved indoors if the weather is inclement.
According to promotional information about the ensemble, the band recreates the fun and atmosphere of a brass band concert from this era, when live entertainment was the norm and not the exception.
“Wearing period costume and playing period instruments, (the) Dodworth Saxhorn Band serves to entertain and educate its audiences through programs composed of scripted scenes that address many of the social and political issues of the 19th century,” the information read. “These include various aspects of the Civil War, immigration, the suffrage and temperance movements, and even baseball. Through music and dialog, (the) Dodworth Saxhorn Band strives to bring America’s past to life.”
All brass instruments used by the band are originals from the 1800s. The drums are also 19th-century antiques with wood frames, rope tensioning systems and animal-hide heads.
The Dodworth Saxhorn Band’s music has been featured in several documentary films and has been released on two compact discs. Alexander Pollock, an architect for the city of Detroit, formed the group in 1985 as a research and performance project in living history. He collected musical instruments from the 1800s.
The concert is part of the fort's 175th anniversary. Ice cream and cake will be served in the east mess hall.
Admission to the performance is free of charge. However, a Recreation Passport is required to gain admission to the state park.