Anglo-Canadian Leather Company Band

Anglo-Canadian Leather Company Band, or Anglo-Canadian Concert Band. Built on the nucleus of a small band formed by Italian immigrant workers at a Huntsville, Ont, tannery established by Charles Orlando Shaw in 1900.

Anglo-Canadian Leather Company Band

Anglo-Canadian Leather Company Band, or Anglo-Canadian Concert Band. Built on the nucleus of a small band formed by Italian immigrant workers at a Huntsville, Ont, tannery established by Charles Orlando Shaw in 1900. Shaw, an amateur cornetist and a wealthy man, encouraged the development of the band by providing a suitable rehearsal room, music, instruments, and uniforms. He also had a bandstand built. The band, made up of about 40 tannery employees, was led by Vincent Grosso until Shaw, while on a visit to Chicago for cornet lessons with Herbert L. Clarke, was able to persuade Clarke to become the director of the band in 1918. Clarke in turn recruited a large number of musicians from other noted Canadian and US bands. He also acted as cornet soloist, although in rehearsal Shaw often would assume this role. Upon moving to Huntsville, the new recruits took regular jobs with the Anglo-Canadian Leather Co as clerks, machinists, electricians, etc, and were paid an additional salary and provided with housing. There were 69 bandsmen.

About 1922 Herbert Barrow was assistant conductor, and in 1923 Clarke resigned. He was succeeded briefly by Frank Welsman (summers 1923, 1924) before the US musician Ernest Pechin, a cornet soloist under Sousa, was appointed.

The band was featured at the CNE for about 10 years and was one of the first organizations of its kind in Canada to do a radio broadcast (CFRB, Toronto, 1926). In an article in Musical Canada (March 1929), Alfred Zealley described it as "one of the finest industrial plant bands in the world." It toured very little, mainly in southern Ontario, and made no recordings. The band ceased to function ca 1927. In 1986 Forester Press issued a booklet titled The Little Town Band that Grew and Grew together with a cassette of the Huntsville Town Band and saxophonist Paul Brodie, recorded at a 1985 tribute concert for the Anglo-Canadian Leather Co Band.


Further Reading

  • West, Bruce. "Music on the barge likely to be special," Toronto Globe and Mail, 16 Aug 1979

    Boyer, Robert J. "Muskoka's greatest musical organization was the Anglo-Canadian Band," Muskoka Sun, 16 Aug 1979

    Madeja, J. T. "The Anglo-Canadian concert band: a unique episode in the history of the band movement in North America," Journal of Band Research, vol 26:1, 1990