The Excelsior Cornet Band is New York State’s only authentic Civil War brass band. Founded in 2001, the band consists of a group of upstate New York musicians who are dedicated to the performance of original Civil War music on actual antique brass band instruments of the 1860’s period.

New York State's Authentic
Civil War Brass Band


Recreating the glorious sounds and appearance of this pivotal period in American history, the band performs the most popular melodies of the 1850-1870 period, as well as patriotic airs, operatic medleys, marches, and dance music by the era’s most renowned composers and bandmasters. All of the band’s musical arrangements come from the bandbooks of Civil War era bands, or are arranged from the original Civil War era sheet music.

The musicians of the Excelsior Cornet Band are professional performers with many years of experience in a wide variety of musical genres. They perform with an enthusiasm and polish that brings the music of the Civil War brass band era to life. Their uniforms authentically and accurately represent those of a typical early-war New York State Militia band. 

During its nineteen years of performing, the Excelsior Cornet Band has presented concerts, educational programs, and living history portrayals for a wide variety of organizations and municipalities, including:

The Great American Brass Band Festival, Danville, KY
The New-York Historical Society, New York, NY
Genesee Country Village & Museum, Mumford, NY
New York State Military Museum, Saratoga, NY
National Purple Heart Hall of Honor, New Windsor, NY
Yale Summer School of Music and Art, Norfolk, CT
Copenhagen NY Sesquicentennial Celebration (as The J.H. Raymond Cornet Band)
Brewster Academy, Wolfeboro, NH
Tinker Homestead Museum, Rochester, NY 
Rose Hill Mansion, Geneva, NY
St. Williams Church on Long Point, Raquette Lake, NY
8th Maine Regimental Memorial, Peaks Island, ME
5th Maine Regimental Museum, Peaks Island, ME
Maine Veterans Home, Scarborough, ME
Homer Center for the Arts, Homer, NY
Iron Heritage Festival, Danville, PA
155th NY Volunteer Infantry, Buffalo, NY  
Lincoln in Paint and Print, Homer, NY 
Aurora Historical Society, Aurora, NY
Morgan-Manning House, Brockport, NY
Peterboro NY Civil War Weekend
Syracuse University
Le Moyne College, Syracuse, NY
Elmira College
State University of NY at Oswego
Wells College, Aurora, NY
Hartwick College, Oneonta, NY
University of Rochester
County of Onondaga, NY
Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz, NY
Mount Hope Cemetery, Rochester, NY
Locust Grove/Samuel F.B. Morse Historic Site, Poughkeepsie, NY
300 Years of Democracy in Duchess County, Bowdoin Park, Poughkeepsie, NY
The New York State Fair, Syracuse, NY
Albany Rural Cemetery Civil War Heritage Days
City of Glens Falls, NY, Centennial Celebration 
Dedication/rededication of Civil War Monuments and cemetery plots
in Syracuse, Buffalo, Albany, Waterloo, and Fabius NY;
The 149th NYS Volunteers
Oswego Harborfest, Oswego, NY
Concert series at Sackets Harbor, Liverpool, Moravia, Cazenovia,
Johnson City, and Homer, NY 

No other musical group in New York State can recreate the glorious sounds and appearance of the Civil War brass band era with such accuracy and authenticity. The Excelsior Cornet Band is proud to present the music of this important period of American history. 


You can now download our MEDIA KIT

in PDF format, from the LINKS page.


We are always seeking period instruments for our performing collection. Of particular interest are any Over-The-Shoulder (OTS) instruments (especially E-flat soprano, B-flat soprano and B-flat tenor), any keyed brasses (especially E-flat bugle and E-flat alto ophicleide or quinticlave), and early “post horns” (small-bore trumpets with Vienna twin-piston valves.) Please Contact Us if you have an instrument that you think may be of interest to us!


The Excelsior Cornet Band ready for action at the “Lincoln In Paint And Print”
Bicentennial Celebration in Homer, NY, on May 16, 2009
Photo: Victoria Stockham

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This site was last updated on 10/17/19