Club Bands

While there were local social clubs that focused exclusively on music, some clubs that had been formed with other purposes in mind also had their own bands. Fraternal groups like the Masons and the Elks Club had bands, as did organizations like the Y.M.C.A. and the Salvation Army. The bands generally played at their own club events and fundraisers, but also marched in local parades.

Excelsior Y.M.C.A. Band

The Excelsior Band formed in the early 1890s with the support of the Elmira Y.M.C.A. The African American musicians played at church bazaars and community concerts and in parades through the 1920s.

Excelsior Y.M.C.A. Band, c. 1907

Cashmere Grotto Band

Cashmere Grotto was founded in Elmira in 1903 as a social organization for Master Masons. Shortly after, the club started a band from its membership. The band was active through the 1980s.

Cashmere Grotto Band, 1920s


Lions Club Boys' Band


The Elmira Lions Club was chartered in 1924. In the early 1930s, the club sponsored a boys’ band that played concerts at the organization’s banquets and other events.

Lions Club Boys’ Band, 1930