Band History

The City of Lafayette was founded in 1825, and 17 years later, in 1842, the Tippecanoe Journal and Free-Press reported the organization of the “Lafayette Band”, noting in its July 7, 1842 edition, that it had been “only a few months in training, but from its performance on the 4th, a stranger might have been led to presume it had been organized for years.”

The Lafayette Citizens Band is proud to be a living part of Lafayette’s history, having been present throughout the growth and development of the city yesterday and today, and promising to be here tomorrow. Here are some highlights of the Band’s history:

  • 1842: The Lafayette Band is formed and plays at the July 4th celebration.
  • 1882: The Band plays for the dedication of the Tippecanoe County Courthouse. One hundred years later, in 1982, the Band plays again for the Centennial rededication of the renovated Courthouse.
  • 1895: John Philip Sousa’s Military Band plays at the Grand Opera House in Lafayette. In 1995, the Lafayette Citizens Band plays a special concert in Long Center honoring Sousa and his music.
  • 1904: The Band begins playing concerts in the new Columbian Park.
  • 1939: The City of Lafayette establishes a Band Fund, which has provided the Band with its principal source of income ever since.
  • 1989: Bill Kisinger becomes the Musical Director of the Lafayette Citizens Band and the Band plays its first fund-raising concert at Long Center.
  • 1992: The Band plays for the opening of the new bridge across the Wabash. Also in that year, the Band celebrates its 150th anniversary with a specially-commissioned piece by Warren Barker, “Hoagy Carmichael in Concert”, which quickly becomes a favorite of concert bands across the country.
  • 1994: The Big Four Depot is moved down Second Street from Columbia to Main, and the Band plays while the building is actually being moved down the street. The Band plays its concerts on the plaza in front of the remodeled Depot building.
  • 2001: The Lafayette Citizens Band is awarded the Sudler Scroll Award for Community Bands, which is presented by Al and Gladys Wright, co-presidents of the John Philip Sousa Foundation, at the band’s 160th anniversary concert.
  • 2006: The Vintage Brass is formed, replicating the original 1840s Lafayette Band, and plays its first first public performances on Memorial Day.
  • 2016: Purdue Director of Bands Emeritus, Dr. Al G. Wright, conducts the Lafayette Citizens Band on his 100th birthday.
  • 2021: After 32 years conducting the band, Bill Kisinger retires becoming our conductor emeritus.
  • 2022: Matt Conaway becomes the musical director for the Lafayette Citizens Band.
  • 2023: The Band returns to the Columbian Park venue.

The Lafayette Citizens Band provides the community with free public concerts throughout the summer and gives local musicians a chance to play quality band music under expert conductor Matt Conaway.

As of 2023, the band plays each summer at the Columbian Park Amphitheater from Memorial Day to Labor Day and every Thursday evening in June and July. See the Concert Schedule on this web site for starting times and locations for all concerts.

The Lafayette Citizens Band, Inc., is a not-for-profit organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code and your donations may be tax-deductible.