A town band was launched in 1870. Proceeds from a formal dance party held at the new cheese factory went toward the purchase of instruments. German-born professional musician and gifted cornetist Henry Bayer is credited with organization and management of the band. Soon the group known as the Turner Junction Cornet Band or Turner Cornet Band had its first gig at the annual ball at Voll’s Hall.
During the Civil War brass bands had been important for recruitment and the morale of troops in the field. After the war there was an increase in community bands and 1880-1910 is known as the Golden Age of Bands. In a time before recorded music, a live band was an essential part of most entertainments.
Cornets have a lovely mellow tone useful for solos and because of their wide use many town bands were dubbed cornet bands. Initially the Turner Cornet Band was comprised exclusively of brass instruments with the exception of snare and bass drums. In later years clarinet and piccolos were added.
The band provided entertainment at concerts, dances and picnics. From 1886-1894 it appears the band was dormant. By 1894, sixteen members had sold enough ice cream and lemonade to buy new uniforms. Citizens petitioned the village board to build a band stand, but it is not known if it was built.
The Turner Cornet Band played at the 1895 DuPage County Fair, was in demand by neighboring communities and often performed at roller skating rinks here and in Wheaton.
When our town’s name changed in 1896, the band became the West Chicago Cornet Band. The last known mention of the band in local newspapers was in 1899 when it was reported that it led the Memorial Day parade.