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Bridgewater Fire Department Band

81 Dominion St. Bridgewater. Nova Scotia

History of the Bridgewater Firemen’s Band
Bands Down the Years
Band 1868
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.
The band 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.
The band 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 Bridgewater.
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.