THE ORIGINAL SAXTON'S CORNET BAND
The original Saxton's Cornet Band was organized in the late 1850's and played in Lexington, Kentucky and the surrounding areas. The founder of the ensemble was a well known sign painter in Lexington by the name of Henry Augustus Saxton. Mr. Saxton had a very musical family and two of his children, Orrin and Henry, Jr. (aka "Harry"), were members of this band which would play for patriotic and community events throughout Central Kentucky.
Henry Saxton would lead this ensemble until the late 1860's when his son, Harry, would assume the role of leader. Harry would increase the popularity of the group through his leadership and musical arrangements making the group well known throughout the eastern part of the United States. Harry would eventually leave the organization in the 1880's to expand his musical reach. His first appointment was as the musical director at the famed Howard's Athenaeum Hall in Boston, a regular stop for some of the nation's most famous vaudeville performers. From there he would return to Lexington only to travel to New Orleans to assume the role of musical director of Hallen and Hart's Comedy Company, a traveling minstrel and comedy group. Once the Hallen and Hart tour was completed, he would retake his appointment as the musical director at the Athenaeum Hall in Boston until his eventual return to Lexington in the late 1800's. He would compose many works over the years and would be regularly be called upon to write and arrange music for some of the most famous Vaudeville performers in America. Upon his return to Lexington in the late 1880's, Saxton would assume the role of the director of the Lexington Opera House orchestra and continue to operate the various Saxton's musical groups.
Harry Saxton would continue his musical reign in Central Kentucky until his death on December 5, 1915. He is buried alongside his father and other family members in the Lexington Cemetery.
THE MODERN DAY SAXTON'S CORNET BAND
Reorganized in 1989, the Saxton’s Cornet Band of today strives to maintain the spirit and high standards set by the original ensemble. Saxton’s Cornet Band is a Kentucky and national treasure. Saxton’s has been featured on the small screen on NBC's hit show "Timeless" and on the National Geographic Channel's hit biopic "Killing Lincoln" featuring Tom Hanks. The band has silver screen credits as well having been seen in the Turner films “Gettysburg” and “The Day Lincoln Was Shot”. The band has toured internationally with concerts throughout Taiwan including a performance at The National Concert Hall in Taipei and looks to tour in Europe in the near future.
The band has performed for the inauguration of President George W. Bush and for the National Park Service at sites around the country, including Gettysburg National Military Park. Saxton's has performed in concert halls and at universities across America and has played alongside orchestras and bands including the Cleveland Pops , Firelands (Ohio), and the Lexington Philharmonic orchestras, the Indiana Wind Symphony, and Milliken University Wind Ensemble. Saxton’s is a mainstay at the Great American Brass Band Festival in Danville, KY and has been a visiting artist at the Conner Prairie Museum and at the Ohio Historical Society.