Friday, December 15, 2017 Medina
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Local Medina County News

Litchfield Band makes history

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    A Ohio Historical Marker commemorating the Litchfield Town Band is staked outside of the gazebo in Litchfield Circle Park. It is the ninth Historical Marker in Medina County.

    HALEE HEIRONIMUS / GAZETTE

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    A new Ohio Historical Marker commemorating the Litchfield Town Band is shown Thursday outside the gazebo in Litchfield Circle Park in Litchfield Township. It is the ninth Historical Marker in Medina County.

    HALEE HEIRONIMUS / GAZETTE

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LITCHFIELD TWP. — It’s been more than 100 years since about a dozen people formed what became the Litchfield Town Band.

When the township gathers tonight, people will commemorate the band as the recipient of an Ohio Historical Marker that has been installed outside the gazebo at Litchfield Circle Park.

The dedication program will begin at 6:30 p.m. Hot dogs, sloppy joes, chips, pie, ice cream and beverages will be available. The Litchfield Town Band concert will follow the dedication program.

In case of inclement weather, the event will be held in the township annex building, east of the town hall.

The 35 members of the band range in age from 7 to 93.

Seven-year-old Reed Davis, of Litchfield Township, plays the drums and is an elementary student at Buckeye Schools.

“He’s been coming (to concerts) since his mom was carrying him in a little basket,” band director Cynthia Bennett said.

Jim Plummer, 93, of Medina, plays the alto saxophone. He is a World War II veteran.

Other members are from Strongsville, Cleveland, Litchfield Township, Nova, Lodi, Spencer, Lakewood, Grafton, Wakeman and Akron.

Besides Litchfield, the band has performed concerts in Lodi, Medina, Liverpool Township, Grafton, Wellington and Polk.

Each year, the band performs at various ice cream socials throughout the summer, provides a summer and Christmas concert at the Medina County Home in Lafayette Township, and at the Litchfield Community Christmas program in December.

The band performs standard tunes from the 1920s to 1940s and Sousa marches.

Bennett said some of the band’s favorite songs are “Liechtensteiner Polka” and “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

“We play more than 200 pieces of music and through the season we run through all of them,” Bennett said. “Each week we play something different.”

The band was organized in 1901 after establishment of the township’s Cemetery and Park Association, which was formed as a way to carry out various community functions.

One of the functions was, and still is, the observance of Memorial Day. The band leads the Memorial Day procession from Litchfield Circle Park to Litchfield cemetery and back to the park.

The band has served at various times for parades and other events in Chatham, Litchfield and Liverpool townships, Medina, Seville, Grafton and LaGrange.

It originally was referred to as “The Crow Band” because it was under the leadership of Urial Crow. Other early directors included Loren Hayes in 1915 and Floyd Koons in the mid-1920s.

The band was inactive from 1930 to 1935 and was rejuvenated by Raymond Bradley. Bradley led the band until 1939.

From 1939 to 1945, Hal Leach was the director before Kenneth Bradley assumed leadership in 1946 until his retirement in 2011.

Bennett, of Nova, began helping Bradley in the directing role in 2009. She was a music teacher for 33 years at Mapleton Schools in Ashland County.

“Music is part of you … it’s something for a lifetime,” Bennett said. “I played in (Litchfield Town) band in junior high and high school and came back in 2001 when (the band) celebrated its 100th (birthday), and when Kenny (Bradley) asked me to help out, I did.”

Contact reporter Halee Heironimus at (330) 721-4012 or hheironimus@medina-gazette.com.

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