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The 1890s were the heyday of outdoor band concerts.

It was a time when John Philip Sousa was keeping bandmasters running to the music store for his latest hits.Audiences trooped to shaded pavilions to hear fellow townsmen tootle Sousa's ``El Capitan' or other popular tunes such as ``There'll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight.'

The band concert was the music video of its day.

Only the new phonograph and occasional visits by touring performers offered instrumental competition.

In Greensboro, The Record's co-founder, Col. Joe Reece, also doubled as bandmaster.

His ensemble was available for a whole series of events, not just park programs like those offered today by the city's Music for a Sunday Evening in the Park series.

Reece's Greensboro Brass Band played on Courthouse Square, at the intersection of Elm and Market Streets, and at many civic gatherings.

At a time when bands were sources of civic pride, Greensboro could turn out a group for any parade or picnic.

Reece saw to it that the bandsmen looked the part.

A Greensboro Record account written in 1930 reported that the band in its heyday was ``much in demand' and its ``handsome uniforms and fine instruments made a brave array.'

There was probably more band music in the 1890s than Greensboro had seen since thousands of Civil War soldiers, in blue and gray, gathered here for the surrender of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's Confederate army in 1865.

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