History Page 2

   From The Decade 1870 to 1880
Following the war, David Singer was named director and the band became known as the Singer Cornet Band and later the Singer Band. I.S. Eberly, founder of Eberly Lumber Yard in Mechanicsburg, was the band's next director. During his years at the helm, the band was recognized as one of the finest in the state and performed at the Centennial Celebration of the United States in Philadelphia in 1876.

The band had procured new uniforms in keeping with the Centennial and there were solicitations for donations to help defray the cost. The new uniform was in the style of the dress of the Continental Army of 1776. The coat was dark blue with tails turned back and the broad lapels were faced with buff; the bright brass buttons of the coat shone like gold. The waistcoat was buff colored. Knee breeches were of blue cloth, and there were leather leggings and shoes with silver buckles. To top it all was a tricorn (three-cornered hat) with a black pompon.

The band had traveled to Philadelphia on Saturday, the first of July, and was quartered at Grangers’ Encampment, which was located at Elm Station on the Main Line of the Pennsylvania Railroad, about five miles west of the Centennial grounds. On Tuesday morning, July 4, the Singer Band was in the city early and took up the line of march with thousands of others who trod the cobblestone streets of the city that day.

About eleven o’clock in the morning, as the parade was moving down Chestnut Street and nearing Independence Hall, a happy thought came to the Singer Band leader as to the most appropriate music to render on this occasion and so, just as they reached Sixth Street, the lively strains of Yankee Doodle" burst out to delight the huge crowd around the old State House. The tune caught the ear and the uniforms caught the eye, and immediately thousands began to shout themselves hoarse with patriotic fervor. Certainly no one who witnessed that stirring spectacle will ever forget it.

The bright and happy week for the Singer boys was unfortunately to have a sorrowful ending. On Wednesday afternoon a terrific thunderstorm passed over that section of the country. Roger Heffelfinger, one of the drummers of the band, went into the corridor of the hotel to assist in closing a ventilator. While he was in the act of loosening the wires that held it open, a bolt of lightning struck the wire and passed through his body, killing him instantly. His body was brought home that same evening, arriving here on the ten o’clock train. Almost the entire town was at the railroad station upon the arrival of the train and a feeling of sadness pervaded the community for many days.

The band had eighteen members in that day, and at the time this article was written (July 3, 1901), there were but two old-timers remaining, Mr. I. S. Eberly and Dr. R. M. McGary, both 25-year members.

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