Indiana County’s Wildcat Regiment Band to perform at inauguration

INDIANA — The Wildcat Regiment Band of Indiana County will participate in the inauguration of Gov.-elect Tom Corbett Tuesday, providing music for the ceremony to be held on the front steps of the state capitol.

The band is a re-creation of the regimental band of the 105th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, the Wildcat Regiment, formed in 1861 with volunteers from Indiana and surrounding counties, the area known as the Wildcat legislative district.

Many members of the civilian Indiana Brass Band joined to form the regimental brass band. The Indiana Brass Band performed in and around the town of Indiana as early as 1842.

The incoming governor invited the band to perform at his inaugural after seeing it perform several times, according to First Sergeant Rick McFerron.

“Gov.-elect Corbett and his wife have seen us perform several times, most recently at the grand opening of the Gettysburg Visitors Center,” he said Friday. “We met them and talked to them, and they are very familiar with what we do.”

According to Clarence Stephenson’s History of Indiana County, Feb. 22, 1861, the Indiana Brass Band traveled to Harrisburg “to participate in the pageant of receiving Mr. Lincoln at the capitol of our state.” Thus, Tuesday, it will be almost 150 years to the day that the current band members will retrace the steps of their predecessors.

Today, the Wildcat Band is comprised of musicians of all ages and from various professional backgrounds. Like their predecessors, the current bandsmen have been recruited from the same geographical area in Western Pennsylvania and come from all walks of life.

In addition to McFerron, the bandmaster is Bruno J. Pino, the principal musician is Donald Amendt, and the band’s Sergeant Major is Sherman Good.

The Wildcat Band has performed for historic and civic events throughout the eastern United States. National Park Service engagements include regular visits to Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Harpers Ferry, Manassas, and Monocacy, and the band performs extensively in western Pennsylvania and at musical festivals and other events in towns such as Bethlehem and Lancaster, Winston-Salem, N.C., and Wheeling, W.Va.

The band has been invited to perform in the Governor’s Residence in Harrisburg as well as the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

The Wildcats have been fortunate to participate in musical events at the Chautauqua Institution in New York and the Smithsonian Institution and the Kennedy Center in Washington.

The band also performs at 19th century balls, dances and cotillions, and conducts lectures and demonstrations that address the history of the 19th century brass band movement and the evolution of brass instruments.

As the time period of 2011 through 2015 approaches, members of the Wildcat Band are looking forward to celebrations commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. For instance, a National Civil War Music festival will be held in Frankfort, Ky., in September 2011. This event, Cornets & Cannons, will feature period military bands from across the nation.

Among other events, a re-creation of the Grand Review is being planned for May 23, 2015, where thousands of troops are expected to march down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington.