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Lawrence City Band Records

Call Number: RH MS 1365


The Lawrence City Band began as a pioneer band in 1854. The band is still popular today, producing weekly summer concert series. This collection contains band rosters and directories, concert programs, schedules, correspondences, brochures, and newsprint.


  • Creation: 1992 - 2012


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

History of Lawrence City Band

In 1854, sponsored by the anti-slavery Emigrant Aid Society, numerous pioneers left their homes in New England to establish the Kansas Territory. Four members of the Savage family brought musical horn instruments along on the journey, and formed one of the earliest Kansas bands. The band originated on the train ride to the Kansas Territory, with Frank Savage as the first conductor of the band. It was at this time that the popular poem by John Greenleaf Whittier was turned into the song, "The Kansas Emigrant," which the band played regularly on the passage.

Once in Kansas, the band continued to play at special occasions, such as weddings, funerals, or gatherings. During the Lawrence Massacre in August, 1863, three members of the band were killed. About a year later, the existing band members, including Savage, formally established the town band, although the group operated as a military unit. There has continuously been an official town band in Lawrence ever since.

The band began hosting regular outdoor concerts around the turn of the century. In 1906, Buch's Military Band (as the band was called), gave a special concert for then vice-presidential candidate Theodore Roosevelt at Lawrence's Santa Fe Train Station. The event raised enough funds for a gazebo to be built in Lawrence's South Park. Shortly after this, the band was disbanded and taken up by the Haskell, Lawrence High School, and University of Kansas bands.

In 1964, Charlie Kassinger, the high school's band director, reorganized the Lawrence City Band. Like today, the band comprised of Lawrence locals, rather than students. During Kassinger's time, the first established "Summer Concert Series" were held in different parks in Lawrence. However, when Conductor William Kelly took over in 1969, he quickly established the South Park Gazebo as the only location for the concerts, which remains in effect today.

In 1992, Robert Foster took over the role of conductor and soon implemented the first recordkeeping procedures of the band, including filing yearly notebooks made up of rosters, printed programs, and newsprint. Today, the band is comprised of forty-five players, with room for fifteen extra players at a given concert. The band continues to play in the South Park Gazebo weekly during the summer season.


1 linear foot (1 box + 1 oversize box)

Language of Materials


Physical Location

RH MS 1365

Physical Location

RH MS R377

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Robert Foster, 2015.


Guide to the Lawrence City Band Collection
Lawrence City Band Records
Finding aid prepared by aam. Finding aid encoded by aam.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Records of the Lawrence City Band, RH MS 1365, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States