Free Westminster concert builds on 125 years worth of tradition

In the year since their last concert in Belle Grove Square, the Westminster Municipal Band has been marking 125 years in their community.

On Aug. 26, the band will return to the hometown venue that they have frequented for more than 50 years for their end-of-summer concert in Belle Grove Square park at 6 p.m. Aug. 26.


Though many of the band’s concerts charge admission, the concert in the park is free and open to the public to encourage the community to attend.

As is tradition for the Belle Grove concert, the band's color guard will lead the march into the square in full dress uniform.

The rest of the concert will be made up of pieces from the band’s 2018 repertoire. They cover many genres in their performances, from upbeat marches to Broadway favorites.

Made up entirely of volunteers, the concert has a strong family-oriented atmosphere. Many guests have been attending for years, and can truly say “I’m with the band,” as they watch friends and family perform.

“I hope people come out in support of us because community bands need the community — we are still fortunate to be an all-volunteer group,” said Director Sandy Miller when reached by the Times before last year's concert. “We need the word out there about us both to support us and to become members.”

The band has a rich history in the community which dates back to the 19th century. Last year’s Belle Grove concert was the kickoff for the 125th anniversary celebration.

President Gregory Wantz spoke with the Times about the various iterations of the band since its founding in 1893 with six original members to today with more than 90 men and women.

“That’s why we’re here, still going strong, because of the history of the band,” Wantz said.

They hosted their anniversary celebration on Aug.11. Before the celebration, band leaders went back through the band’s minutes to find key points in their history.

On June 18 at the Maryland State Fireman’s Association convention in Ocean City, Gov. Larry Hogan presented the group with a governor’s citation recognizing its 125th year. The band’s long history at the MSFA convention dates back to their participation in the first convention’s parade in 1893.

Kevin Dayhoff, public information officer and chaplain for the Westminster fire company found that Westminster fire company was one of nine companies that organized that first convention. He documented the ties between the band and the fire company in a recent column.

The Westminster Municipal Band plays during their 2015 concert in Belle Grove Park in Westminster.
The Westminster Municipal Band plays during their 2015 concert in Belle Grove Park in Westminster. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

Annually, the MSFA parade is a cornerstone of the band’s performace schedule.

The band will resume fall rehearsals on Sept. 10 and is always accepting new members. No dues are required. The band practices at 40 John Street in Westminster from September to April.

For more information on the Westminster Municipal Band, visit