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News Article
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The Quakertown Band
Written by Larry Roeder, Editor

            It was in 1877 when the Citizen's Silver Coronet Band of Quakertown was formed.  They were so named because of the silver instruments they performed with at the time.  The director  was Peter Smith. He served the group until 1882.  Seventeen of the 23 members who joined the group were shoemakers by trade.

The Citizen's Silver Coronet Band of Quakertown was formed in 1877 and changed

their name to the Germania Band of Quakertown in 1883.  During World War I

they changed their name to the Quakertown Band.

            They purchased new instruments in 1883 and changed their name to the Germania Band of Quakertown.  Harry Schultz now served as director until 1885.

            Under the direction of William Hillegass, who served from 1893 to 1913 the band expanded their playing engagements to New Jersey as well as Northeast Pennsylvania.

            With the United States' entry into World War I and negative feelings about anything German, the group changed its name again in 1917.  From then on it would be called the Quakertown Band.

The Quakertown Band preparing to march in a parade in

the 1950's.

            According to their social media page they are the oldest musical organization in Bucks County.

            Of special note is that the Quakertown Band won out in an audition to lead the parade for the first beauty pageant in Atlantic City.  The pageant eventually became the Miss America Pageant.  Lewis Pfaff served as director from 1913 to 1925.

            The big-band era of the 1940s didn't escape the Quakertown Band.  They transitioned from a concert band to a big band in 1948 and added three women singers to regularly perform with them.  They also stopped marching during that time.  Howard Shive was the director from 1925 to 1948.  From 1948 to 1951 Russell Kunkle, a local school teacher of instrumental music, served as director.

            The band made several recordings while under the leadership of Ralph Moyer, who served as the director from 1951 to 1968.  It was during his tenure that the group purchased its home on North Hellertown Avenue in Quakertown.

            A band member for twenty-five years, P. Wilbert Haas served as director from 1968 to 1975 and was credited with bringing the group back to a traditional band appearance and performance.

The Quakertown Band transitioned from a concert band to a big band in 1948 and

added three women singers to regularly perform with them.


            As a band director at Quakertown High School and Milford Junior High School, Joseph Blewett taught many members of the band throughout their school years.  He served as director from 1975 to 1995.  The band's rehearsal hall is named after him, The Joseph Blewett Rehearsal Hall.

            From 1995 to 1999 another student from the Quakertown Community Schools, Frank Parker IV, directed the band.

            Retired Supervisor of Music from the Upper Dublin Schools, Richard Karschner, served as director from 1999 to 2017 and currently holds the title of Conductor Emeritus with the Quakertown Band.

            The current Associate Conductor, since 2008, is Albert Zwart.  Albert taught instrumental music in the Council Rock School District and later at Upper Bucks Christian School in Sellersville.

            The current Conductor is Joe Santanello who has been directing the Quakertown Band since 2017.  He is no stranger to Quakertown since spending 10 years as the Director of Bands at Strayer Middle School and Assistant Director of Bands at Quakertown Community High School.    

            The members were and are bonded by their love of music and their desire to keep playing instruments that they first learned to play as children.

            Quakertown Band, with its more than 45 members, is still going strong today.  If you want to attend one of their upcoming events and enjoy and wonderful performance go to to see where they will be next.






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