Luto Quickstep (Concert Band)



One of the oldest musical institutions in the country, The Salem Band, when it was organized in 1771 in the Moravian settlement, consisted of a quartet of Trombones. This was, of course, a church band but by 1791 they had expanded their repertoire to include secular marches and dance music. By the 1830s they had become the Town Band for Salem, with 15 members, and they played concerts around the state.

With the firing on Fort Sumter, armies on both sides of the Civil War began to gear up for a fight. In the north especially, the announcement that some famous band would be attached to a particular regiment aided in recruitment.

The south too had its famous bands, and the Salem Brass Band provided bands to both the 21st and 26th North Carolina Regiments. In addition to their musical responsibilities, the bandsmen also served as medics.

The 26th North Carolina Regiment was raised in 1861 from central and western North Carolina and spent the first half of the war primarily in North Carolina. At Gettysburg, the 26th suffered more casualties than any other regiment which might lead you to believe the bandsmen were busy as medics. According to their commander however, they combined with the band of t he 11th Regiment to play polkas and waltzes during the battle to cheer their troops on. Northern Troops heard them as well over the din of the cannon fire, and a British observer noted that the dance music “sounded very curious, accompanied by the hissing and bursting of shell.”

Shortly before General Robert E. Lee’s surrender ended the war, the 26th Regimental Band became prisoners of war and remained captives in Maryland until mid-1865. They had stayed together as a unit throughout the war and during their captivity. They returned home as a unit without their instruments but with all their band books the only known complete set of band books from any Confederate Civil War Regiment. Now owned by the Moravian Music Foundation, it is from these books that Emmett Anglin put it into a modern concert band setting. We hope you enjoy this resurrection as it were of a march from by-gone days: the Luto Quickstep.