In turn-of-the-century America, music was a part of every celebration. A marching band was a must for every major public event. Huntley had a brass band as early as 1859. Musical societies sprang up everywhere. Harvard ladies formed a Schumann Society in 1906 to “promote the study and interest of music.”
Many businesses included the sale of musical instruments along with the major merchandise offered. The T. J. Gill Jewelry store of Marengo sold pianos along with the jewelry which was its primary business. Phil Starck of Harvard built and sold organs in 1881. Many orchestras, such as Westermans of Woodstock, provided “suitable music for any occasion.” In December 1856 the McHenry County Musical Association held a convention in Woodstock under the direction of William Bradbury of New York which ran for three days.
Pictured is one of many of these musical groups, the Spring Grove Coronet Band.