Commemorating the First World War Centennial in Kansas

Kaw Valley Cornet Band

A consideration for programming or exhibits is whether or not to include some examples of the popular culture of the time.  Certainly music of the Great War era fits into this thought.

On August 2, 2015, a group of local musicians that make up the Kaw Valley Cornet Band held a concert of World War I music at Topeka’s Gage Park Amphitheater.  They thoughtfully recorded each selection, and posted them individually on YouTube.

We post the selections here so that you can get a flavor of the music, and perhaps how it might have sounded coming from a town band 100 years ago.  You might even be surprised by some of the music; I myself had not realized the the “Colonel Bogey March,” best known from the World War II movie, The Bridge on the River Kwai, was a World War I tune.

And more!

Blair Tarr is the Museum Curator of the Kansas State Historical Society. He oversees the three-dimensional collections of the Society, but has special interests in the Civil War, Wichita-made Valentine diners, and Leavenworth's Abernathy Furniture. In the last few years he has also done a lot of cramming on The Great War. He is a past president of the Kansas Museums Association and the Civil War Round Tables of both Kansas City and Eastern Kansas. He is currently a board member of the Heritage League of Greater Kansas City.


  1. Tom Jorsch

    This is great, Blair, thanks for sharing! While this link doesn’t have quite the fun of Kaw Valley Cornet Band, you can hear cylinder recordings of popular WWI songs.

  2. Blair Tarr

    Thanks Tom, and thanks for posting that link. I’ve bookmarked it for future reference after sampling a bit of it. Others should find that useful as well.

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