Why We Do This!

Our goal has always been to find music written in or about Newport. In our search through newspapers from the 19th century we were able to find concert programs that bands and orchestras performed in the 1800s and early 1900s. 

The 5th Artillery Band concert program from the Aug. 6, 1874 Newport Daily News

We began our search looking for music from the late 19th century but expanded that in both directions as we found music from the early 1800s and until 1920 as learned more about the world class bands at Fort Adams and the Naval Training Station in Newport. 

We started sharing this music by sharing videos on our YouTube channel, which included photos of Newport in the 19th and early 20th century. We recently added an audio page where we have even more music available to hear. We encourage you to explore both to hear what we have shared so far.

Our biggest find to date comes from the microfilm archives at the Library of Congress. The marches of Joseph S. Peckham (1848-1904) include over 30 works written by Peckham, a lifelong Newport resident, member of the band at the Naval Training Station, and choir director at Channing Memorial Church.  

The Newport Artillery March, composed by J.S. Peckham in 1882

But it is not just the music that keeps us searching, it is the people and the places. We want to know who the musicians were and where they played. We have catalogued over 500 musicians who lived and performed in Newport. They were the members of the bands stationed at Fort Adams, the members of the bands at the Naval Training Station, and those who played in the professional and community bands around the city.

Our search through records to find out about the musicians had helped us share the stories of Ray Groff and Ella Williams Brownell

We have learned about the Jeter Family of musicians. As we gain more knowledge of their story we can’t wait to tell their story. The father, Henry Jeter was the pastor at Shiloh Baptist Church in Newport.

We have had incredible resources to help us with our journey and we can’t thank them enough. Visit our Resources page to see all of the great organizations in Newport and beyond that celebrate the city.

Looking forward to 2022 we have a lot of work to do. And we could use your help! Please consider helping with our fundraiser. We want to find more music and bring to you both online and in live performances! And by the end of 2022, we want to find a physical home in Newport

We thank you for your support! Without you we could not do this.

Check out our Facebook and Instagram pages for music and updates!