Electric Park’s favorite band

Michael Bushnell
Publisher


This week we celebrate October as Italian Heritage Month by featuring this Electric Park postcard published by I.I. Norton exclusively for Electric Park, showing Eugenio Sorrentino, leader of the Banda Rossa, Electric Park’s favorite band.


Sorrentino, a native of Calabria, Italy, showed a keen interest in music at an early age. His family placed him in the Royal Conservatory of Naples where he graduated with honors.


The Banda Rossa, or the Red Band, grew out of the city of San Severo in South Central Italy where the Society for the Promotion of Music was founded. The society called on Sorrentino in 1889 to lead the Banda Rossa shortly after his graduation from the Academy. Sorrentino replaced Ferdinando del Re, the band’s original conductor.


Almost immediately, the band’s reputation began to spread past the borders of the province of Puglia where San Severo is located. In 1892 the Banda Rossa won the gold medal over 64 other bands in “general excellence of technique and interpretation” at the Columbus Exposition in Genoa, Italy.


Banda Rossa, toured extensively in the United States, predominantly in the Midwest. He was a regular at Heim’s Electric Park and spent leisure time with the Heim brothers at their fashionable, upscale Benton Boulevard homes. In 1914, Sorrentino was commissioned to compose a piece of music dedicated to Electric Park. The result was Heim’s Electric Park March, dedicated to Mr. & Mrs. M.G. Heim.


Sorrentino also composed the Kansas City Spirit March in 1901, which he dedicated to the “energy and enterprise of the citizens of Kansas City,” following the disastrous fire that destroyed Convention Hall shortly before the Democratic convention in 1900. The city rallied and rebuilt the hall in less than 90 days, and the convention, at which William Jennings Bryan was nominated to run against incumbent William McKinley, went off without a hitch.


Sorrentino performed a special concert at Convention Hall, where the Banda Rossa played the newly composed march. After the performance, the Jaccard Jewelry Company presented Sorrentino with a special medal for his composition.


In 1905, in Utica, NY, a group of Italian musicians began gathering at the Sons of Italy Hall to play music they had brought from the old country under the banner La Banda Rossa. While not the original Banda Rossa, it is said that members from Sorrentino’s band elected to stay in the United States and settle in upstate New York. Utica’s Banda Rossa continues to play concerts in upstate New York.


Sorrentino and the original Banda Rossa continued touring the United States at least through September 1911. No other tour dates can be found in either the Newspapers.com database or the Library of Congress after September 22, 1911 when they played in Fort Scott, Kan.


A news piece in the Fort Scott Republican on September 21, 1911 references the recent concert in Muskogee, Okla., and the write up in the Muskogee Times Democrat notes how Sorrentino invited local school children to a matinee show as his guests.


“The several hundred little children, it is said, produced a peculiar inspiration for the Italian musicians whose playing was almost matchless.” Ticket prices for the Fort Scott concert ranged from $0.25 to $1.

Want Northeast News articles sent straight to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
Enter your email address and click on the Get Instant Access button.
We respect your privacy

Comments are closed.

  • Drive to your gate at the new KCI

    November 23rd, 2022
    by

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News Fifty years ago this month, on November 11, 1972, Kansas City International Airport opened for the […]


    Remember This?

    November 23rd, 2022
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor To light or not to light? Whether displayed on the mantle or the Thanksgiving dinner table, these […]


    Remember This?

    November 16th, 2022
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor A handy book that fits in your hand, this student handbook from the archives of the Northeast […]


    Missouri Pacific: Route of the Eagles

    November 16th, 2022
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher Published for the Missouri Pacific–Iron Mountain & Southern Railway, this promotional postcard shows a picturesque view as […]


    Sheffield Car Works, part of the thriving Blue Valley Industrial District

    November 9th, 2022
    by

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News This week’s historic postcard is once again a companion to our Independence Avenue Community Improvement District […]


    Remember This?

    November 9th, 2022
    by

    Dorri Partain Northeast News Monuments and memorial plaques honoring those who served or gave their life defending our country are […]


    Time to get out the vote!

    November 2nd, 2022
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher The November midterm election is next Tuesday and right along with that we’ve got two vintage political […]


    Remember This?

    November 2nd, 2022
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor While autographs from celebrities may be the most requested, inscribed notes from family and friends can become […]


    Remember This?

    October 26th, 2022
    by

    Dorri Partain Northeast News Casting a warm glow on a Halloween night, illuminated blow-molded figurines once decorated numerous homes after […]


  • Amusement park, beer garden once stood on the Avenue

    October 26th, 2022
    by

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News Traveling east on Independence Avenue approaching Hardesty today, it is difficult to comprehend that, at one […]


    REMEMBER THIS?

    October 19th, 2022
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor A new type of candy named “Butter Cream Corn” contained no butter, cream nor corn, but could […]


    A Royal treat since 1899

    October 19th, 2022
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher The roots of today’s American Royal can be traced to 1899 when the fledgling event was referred […]


    Remember This?

    October 12th, 2022
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor “Every bit of Bit-O-Honey goes a long way” Introduced in 1924 by the Schutter-Johnson Company of Chicago, […]


    Priests of Pallas, Kansas City’s original harvest festival

    October 12th, 2022
    by

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News In the late 1880s, Kansas City was awash with excitement that it too would soon have […]


    Remember this?

    October 5th, 2022
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor Whether you only use a few drops or a tablespoon or two, Tabasco pepper sauce will add […]


    Remembering The Bales Family

    September 28th, 2022
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor Northeast neighbors during life may also end up being neighbors during their eternal rest. In the next […]


    Elmwood Cemetery’s Historic Armour Chapel

    September 28th, 2022
    by

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News The year was 1871 when Phillip Danforth Armour, in partnership with John Plankington, opened a small […]


    Elmwood Cemetery, welcoming and diverse since day one

    September 21st, 2022
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher This week’s Historic Postcard column delves into how Elmwood Cemetery, integrated on all levels, is a reflection […]


  • Northeast Newscast

    264: KC Tenants Power

    November 20th, 2022
    by

  • Remember This?


  • Want articles sent directly to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
    We respect your privacy and will not distribute your information.