of the Bridgewater Firemen’s Band
Down the Years
For well over a
century, music has filled the air in the town of Bridgewater.
Even today, on a warm summer evening you can still hear the
sounds of the Bridgewater Firemen’s Band playing in Bridgewater.
This band has a long history.
The first brass
band in the town was in 1868. For many years, the Bridgewater
Brass Band was attached to the 68th King’s County
Regiment, being recognized as one of the best military bands in
Nova Scotia. The first band leader was Charles Jeffries.
consisted of 22 members and they were well equipped with
attractive uniforms and a set of Besson instruments. Many of the
musicians had no formal musical training, but the band masters
were patient teachers.
performed on request at parades and special occasions whenever
there was a call for music. In the early days, band members
travelled to other communities by train to perform. Their
repertoire included waltzes, marches and overtures.
In the early
1940’s the band practiced in a building at the bottom of the
hill on St. Andrew’s Street and later moved to the Salvation
Army building on King Street. In the 1950’s they practiced in
the old high school auditorium and the arena, until the new fire
hall was constructed on Dominion Street.
In 1952, at the
disbanding of the Citizens Band, the Bridgewater Fire Department
took over the former Band’s assets and organized a Firemen’s
Band, becoming the Bridgewater Firemen’s Band. The near century
old instruments were sold to the Caledonia Band along with the
military-style uniforms. Mr. Warren Hyslop was the first band
master, and along with a few former Citizen’s Band Members,
started to rebuild the band. He was succeeded by Fred Berringer
that same year because his work took him away from the area.
Since 1952 the
band had 16 band masters and music directors. Today, the
Bridgewater Firemen’s Band membership consists of adults and
youth. Past performances include parades for the South Shore
Exhibition, The Mahone Bay Wooden Boat Festival, Halifax Natal
Day and concerts at Chester and Lunenburg bandstands over the
summer. One of the highlights of the Band’s performances is the
Christmas Concert with the Riverport Choir held in Riverport and
The Band also
gives concerts Wednesday evenings in the summer on their band
stand at Shipyard Landing, south King Street in Bridgewater.
A special thank
you to Linda Bedford of the DesBrisay Museum in Bridgewater for
her contribution to this history.