History

The Denver Municipal Band is the oldest continuous-playing professional concert band in the U.S.

Around since before Colorado was a state, the Denver Municipal Band has been performing for the Denver area for more than a century.

We were founded in the late 1860s by Alex Sutherland, bugler at the "Charge of The Light Brigade." Surviving the ordeal, Sutherland settled in Denver where he was active in many of the city's early musical activities. Originally constituted as the GAR Post Band, it performed early municipally funded concerts throughout the 1870s and 80s, changing its name to the Denver Municipal Band in 1891 when it began its continuous history of Denver Municipal Funding.

historic picture of denver municipal band
denver municipal band in a parade
denver municipal band in the 50s

The band has always been fully professional, hiring and playing with some of the best musicians of the time period, including being conducted by major bandsmen Frederick Innes, trombone soloist for Sousa, and the renowned solo cornetist, Hermann Bellstedt, Jr. (1858-1926). 

Timeline of Denver Municipal Band's History

1861 - We Formed

Alex Sutherland, bugler at the "Charge of The Light Brigade" survived and worked with various Denver musicians to bring culture to a Wild West mining town. (Denver!) Then, the band was named the Denver City Band.

1876 - Colorado Became a State

1891 - Became Denver Municipal Band

The Denver City Band evolved to the Denver Municipal Band when Denver agreed to guaranteed continuous funding to play at ceremonies and in parks during the summer.

1904 - Played the St. Louis Exposition

1915 - Played the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco

1916 - Teddy Roosevelt Speaks to Republican National Convention

The Denver Municipal Band played . Learn more about what Roosevelt (the first one) said to the Republic National Convention. Read the Denver Post.

1942 - Began Playing for the Armed Services Network KOA

2008 - Played at Democratic National Convention

Former President Barack Obama came to Denver, and the Denver Municipal band played for him and thousands.

2018 - Played Taste of Ethiopia for 10,000+

The Denver Municipal Band was broadcast live in Ethiopia as we played in Denver!

2019 - Played Westminster Latino Festival

2020 - COVID-19 Shuts Down Denver

Denver and surrounding areas limit social gatherings, even outside. Despite being unable to play due to those legal requirements, the Denver Municipal Band records socially distanced and safe performances to help Denverites and nearby residents, including students. We recorded a newly composed song to honor healthcare workers and those following CDC guidelines. We played a graduation march for students graduating in 2020. We released music training videos. And we recorded the history of Denver, Denver music (including our band), and local area parks.

2021 - Resumed Playing

In 2021, the Denver Municipal Band resumes playing at venues across the Denver area. We require all musicians and volunteers to be vaccinated to prevent the spread of COVID (still raging in areas). Being outside and meeting local and state requirements, we are overjoyed to play for Denver-area residents again.

History was last modified: September 26th, 2021 by Tami Matthews