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Pan-American Exposition of 1901

Bands of the Pan-American Exposition

Frank Cipolla

John Philip SousaFor the Pan-American Exposition of 1901 upwards of twenty professional bands were engaged to present five to seven concerts a day between May and October. In addition, bands played for the military exercises, parades, and other activities that were a regular feature of the exposition. Why so many bands? By the year 1901, bands were at the zenith of their popularity. They had been an integral part of the developing cultural and social life of communities during the nineteenth century, as witnessed by the number of gazebo bandstands that still grace many a town or village square to this day. New designs in wind instrument manufacture provided bands with a greater palette of musical sounds for outdoor performances. Bands became so numerous that, during the Civil War, Congress ordered the regimental bands of the Union Army to be limited to one band for each brigade. Following the war years brass bands continued to flourish in large and small communities alike. Improvements in transportation, mainly the growth of the railroad system, gave rise to a number of outstanding professional bands that could easily travel and thus be heard in cities and towns all across the United States. John Philip Sousa, for example, not only toured the length and breadth of North America with his great band, but also made four extended trips to Europe as well as a world tour during his long and illustrious career.


Three Buffalo bands, the 65th and 74th Regiment Bands and Scinta's Band were engaged to perform at the exposition. The first two were local bands under contract to provide music for various regimental functions, but were free to accept other engagements - a common practice of most military bands at the time. Scinta's Band was popular with local residents since it coincided with the great period of Italian immigration to Buffalo.

65th Regiment Band
65th Regiment Band


74th Regiment Band
74th Regiment Band


Scinta Band
Scinta Band


Visitors to the Pan-American Exposition not only could listen to some of the finest bands in the country but also were treated to an array of the foremost instrumental soloists. Herbert L. Clarke (cornet), Arthur Pryor (trombone), and Simone Mantia (euphonium), featured performers with the Sousa Band, are still recognized as legends on their respective instruments. William Paris Chambers was cornet soloist with Francesco Fanciulli's 71st Regiment Band of New York, and cornetist Bohumir Kryl was heard during two engagements, first in August with Phinney's United States Band and then in October with the band of Frederick Innes. Thomas Brooke's Chicago Marine Band featured the father and son team of James (father) and Edward Llewellyn as cornet soloists. Edward, who was in his early twenties at the time, went on to a symphonic career, initially as first trumpeter in the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and then for a long period as principal trumpet of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Simone Mantia
Simone Mantia
Bohumir Kryl
Bohumir Kryl
Herbert L. Clarke
Herbert L. Clarke
Arthur Pryor
Arthur Pryor


In 1901, Buffalo was the place to be if one wished for the sights and sounds of some of the greatest bands of North America or to witness the eloquent execution of superlative instrumental soloists.

© 2001 Frank Cipolla

Frank Cipolla is Professor of Music Emeritus, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York