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Saxton’s Cornet Band

Frankfort, KY
Saxton's Cornet Band

Saxton’s Cornet Band recreates the sounds, appearance, and conduct of brass bands during the antebellum and Civil War eras.

Our programs are full of energy and are very entertaining both musically and visually.

Saxton’s performances recreate historically accurate concert experiences from the mid-nineteenth century, complete with dramatic readings and period humor in addition to the excellent music.

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.