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They're Playing Our Song - Part 4

Community Bands in Kansas

Marshall's Band  banner.

Fraternal Bands

Fraternal organizations were a central part of town life beginning in the late 19th century. These groups included the Masons, Lions, Elks, and American Legion. Many were established in the 1870s and 1880s, at the same time bands were enjoying unprecedented growth.

GAR snare drum from Dodge City.

Like the rest of America, these organizations considered music essential to their activities. Men's club bands were very popular. Although many lodges formed their own bands, others hired the town band to provide music at their functions.

This banner (top, right) declares Marshall's Band as the Official Band of Topeka Knights Templar.

Lewis Post No. 294 of the Grand Army of the Republic was located in Dodge City. This was the Post band's snare drum (bottom, left).


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They're Playing Our Song: Community Bands in Kansas is an online exhibit developed by the Kansas Museum of History.

  1. Military Bands
  2. Town Bands
  3. Music in the Schools
  4. Fraternal Bands
  5. Railroad Bands
  6. Cowboy Bands
  7. Ethnic Folk Bands
  8. Circus Bands
  9. Bandwagons and Bandstands

Contact us at KansasMuseum@kshs.org