Citizens Concert Band

Home About Concerts History of the Band Contact

History of the Band

Part 2

Part 2 was put together by Kevin Loomis from his own memories, hand written sketches and conversations he had with his dad over the years, and from conversing with Walter Bell. Walter was the last original band member from 1947 who passed away in 2006.

When it became apparent after many tries that St. Albans wasn't going to sponsor the band with an annual stipend, "St. Albans" was dropped from the name and we became Citizens Band. Sometime in the 1960s or 1970s when citizens band radios became popular, to keep confusion at a minimum Eddie (and probably band members) elected to add our middle name, and we officially became Citizens Concert Band.

Eddie bought music out of his own pocket to start up the band along with some of the music from the American Legion Band. As the band started to play concerts, donations were taken as boxes were passed around the audience so more music could be purchased.

In 1949 the band, augmented with a string section and a chorus brought together by Edric, put on Vermont's first full Messiah. It was performed in St. Albans City Hall to a packed, standing room only house. The full Messiah just wasn't done in Vermont in those days. It was ground-breaking.

The band has been going strong ever since. In 1959, the Swanton Festival was formed and it hired the band to play. From 1959 - 2004, the band played the Festival every year except one.

The bandstand in Taylor Park in St. Albans was a project of Edric and the Citizens Concert Band. Starting with donations and earnings from Christmas concerts during 1976, the band started to save for a bandstand. Edric talked about his idea to any city official who would listen. After many meetings and lots of donations, the building was finally built and dedicated in 1984. It was supposed to be a bandshell but a local politician got involved and the shape changed. The original name stuck and the bandstand was called Memorial Bandshell, which has been our "home base" ever since.

The band started out playing Sunday nights but eventually changed to Wednesday nights as concert night. That night has been unchanged since the late 1960s or early 70s.

Eddie lost his wife in May of 2003 and developed some health problems of his own. He asked his son, Kevin, to take over in his place. Kevin had misgivings about doing so because he knew the big shoes he would have to fill. But, Edric needed the change so Kevin agreed. Eddie attended all but two concerts that summer, sitting quietly in his car and observing, listening. He later told Kevin, "The band is in good hands, they don’t need me anymore." It brought tears to Kevin's eyes to see Edric giving up his life's project since 1947. At each concert that summer, Kevin urged his dad to conduct, even if just one march. He never did. All desire to do so died with the passing of his wife of 63 years.

Edric passed away on October 16, 2003 following the first and only concert season he hadn't conducted since he was 28 years old. He was 84.

Sepia toned picture of a young and dapper Eddie Loomis

Edric Loomis, 1949 publicity photo

« Previous 1 2 3 Next »
©2024 Citizens Concert Band

Contact us