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Le Courant

Courant 2021 | 23

Coaticook Harmony Band

Coaticook Harmony Band


One of the oldest cultural organizations in the region was the Coaticook Harmony Band. We see evidence of it as part of the community in 1868. It is also the oldest harmony band still playing
in Quebec. What follows is some of the information gathered on the subject.

In the early days, band music was the type of music favored by musicians. The most famous performance dates back to 1907. Harry K. Thaw had been accused of murder in the United States.
He fled to Canada where he was captured and temporarily put in jail in Coaticook. To make his time here a little less sad, the musicians had the bright idea to divert his thoughts by way of a
performance just outside his window at the jail.

                                     Harmonie 1872

The history of the Coaticook Harmony Band took a violent course for the worse on November 29, 1953. Fire erupted in the Coaticook Town Hall where most of the band's instruments were
located. At risk to their own lives, the musicians known as Martial Martineau and Ernest Lafaille as well as the musical director, Victor-Laurier Vincent, managed to save half of the contents
from the Coaticook Harmony Band's catalog of music as well as a few instruments. Martial's heart sank when he realized that his saxophone could not be saved. The losses were huge but the
musicians just rolled up their sleeves and got to work. They organized various fundraisers in order to begin playing as soon as possible.

Towards the beginning of the 1950's, there were two bands in Coaticook, the Coaticook Harmony Band and the Military Band. The two groups would share musical instruments and sheet music
as needed. The dismantling of the Military Band took place in 1968 due to financial problems with the budget and this had a devastating impact on the Coaticook Harmony Band. Several
musicians were forced to leave for lack of instruments. The Harmony Band was about to go into its darkest period but did manage to hang on. Michael Dougherty, a trumpeter with the group,
would become the President from 1989 to 2013. Throughout his presidency, he sought to breathe new life into the group and saw to the training of new musicians as well as by forging new
links with the community and abroad. Beginning in 1992, and up to the present day, the Coaticook Harmony Band has participated in cultural exchanges with bands from France, specifically
with the municipalities of Jallais, Saint-Hilaire-de-Riez, St. Joseph-de-Riviere, Toumon-sur-Rhone and many others.

And now, after twenty years without a band, the band made a comeback in 2014 much to the delight of the people of Coaticook.

Before taking his final bow, Michael Dougherty fulfilled his dream of writing and publishing a rich history of the Coaticook Harmony Band, a 440-page book: The Coaticook Harmony Band, One
Hundred Years of history.

Do not forget all the years of work as done by everyone involved.

Do not hesitate to buy this book written by Michael Dougherty describing the history of the Coaticook Harmony Band. A 440- page book which features more than 600 photos. The book was
released in 2012.

Extract from the article in the Tribune by Maxime Pelletier dated September 15, 2009.: Maxime Pelletier
La Tribune

Founded in 1870, nearly at the same time of Canadian Federation, the Coaticook Harmony Band celebrated its 144th anniversary. To mark the event, the
organization intended to publish a book outlining its history.

Michael Dougherty cites an example, the fire in the Town Hall which took place in 1950. This fire also damaged the outdoor stage where the musicians
performed. The structure was rebuilt at a cost of $5,000, a considerable sum in those days. ''The Town held a referendum to see if the citizens approved
of the project and, the project was accepted. This showed the amount of interest that the people had for the band'', affirmed the president.

However, Coaticook only had $3500 to spend on this project, which was to be built in Chartier Park. The veterans of World War Two accepted to furnish
the balance of funds on the condition that the new installation include a military monument. It is for this reason that a plaque was installed to pay homage
in this place. ''Many people in Coaticook ignore this story'', Mr. Dougherty believes.

Historical Capsules were created in the frame of Coaticook' s 150th anniversary, in 2014.

Reference: The Town of Coaticook

Le Courant

Le Courant est publié par la Société une fois par année. Membres de la société, historiens professionnels et amateurs partagent avec les lecteurs le fruit de leurs recherches. Les textes sont disponibles en français et en anglais. La publication de cette revue est rendue possible grâce au soutien de commanditaires locaux que nous remercions avec toute notre gratitude.

Société d'histoire de Coaticook

34, rue Main Est
Coaticook, Québec
819 849-1023

Heures d'ouverture

Mardi au jeudi
9.30h à 15.00 h

Droits d'entrée : Aucun

Bases de données

Vous pouvez désormais effectuer une recherche de photos sur nos bases de données en ligne.

Vous pouvez maintenant également faire des recherches dans nos fonds et collections d'archives par le Portail des archives des Cantons-de-l'Est.


Journaux et photos du Progrès de Coaticook depuis 1950 • Collection du Coaticook Observer des années 1928 à 1938. • Collection de l'Etoile de l'Est de 1928 à 1938.

Services de recherche

Fonds d'archives • Conservation • Bibliothèque • Recherches en archives • Informations généalogiques

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