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Almost Yesterday is a glimpse into the rich history of our region. Dr. Frank Nickell takes listeners on a journey to specific moments in time, such as the first radio broadcast on KFVS, the history of Farmington’s Carleton College, and the short-lived safari on a Mississippi River island. A gifted storyteller and local historian, Dr. Nickell’s wit and love for the past are combined with sounds and music that augment his narrative.On Saturday, June 7, 2008, Almost Yesterday received First Place in the "Special Programs" category at the Missouri Broadcasters Association Awards Banquet in Kansas City, Missouri.Almost Yesterday airs every Wednesday at 5:42 and 7:42 a.m. and 5:18 p.m.

Almost Yesterday: Cape Girardeau Municipal Band Begins

The Cape Girardeau Municipal Band was first formed in 1900. The group was originally called "Schuchert's Cornet Band."
Southeast Missouri State University
The Cape Girardeau Municipal Band was first formed in 1900. The group was originally called "Schuchert's Cornet Band."

It seems like Almost Yesterday that a group of young men in Cape Girardeau, Missouri decided to start a band. Under the leadership of Captain C. F. Schuchert, twelve young men who were musically inclined – and had instruments - came together and became a popular group, performing at parades, picnics and public events. In their first years they were identified as “Schuchert’s Cornet Band.”

In 1910 Captain Schuchert’s son, Clarence, assumed leadership of the band and changed the name to “Schuchert’s Concert Band.”

Shortly before the coming of World War I the band was mustered into the National Guard, becoming the official 140th National Guard Band. In 1917 the band moved into the U. S. Military with some members assigned to other bands, a large group assigned to Camp Pike, Arkansas, in North Little Rock, Arkansas.

Members of the band who were too young – or too old – for military service, gathered in Cape and formed the Cape Girardeau Municipal Band. For the duration of the war they played weekly summer-time concerts in Court House Park.

The emerging popularity of such musical performances contributed to the passage of the Missouri State Band Law which granted communities the right to enact a tax to support a community band. Cape Girardeau moved quickly to support such a levy, making it possible for residents of the community to enjoy summertime concerts in Capaha Park for approximately a century.

In observance of the fiftieth anniversary of the passage of the Missouri State Band Law, the Cape Girardeau Municipal Band commissioned an original composition entitled, “The Golden Year,” written by Charles W. Smith. It was first performed by the Cape Municipal Band on July 27, 1977.

Frank Nickell is a retired history professor at Southeast Missouri State University.
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