The current iteration of the Nelson Town Band was begun in 1989 when Louise Dierker and her husband Dave Patek, playing drum and flute respectively, marched up the hill from the Nelson Common to the cemetery (a steep 1/4 mile), on Memorial Day.
Shortly after that they engaged fellow Nelson residents Rick Lothrop, a tuba player, and Charlie Lang on trumpet. Charlie quickly assumed the role of director, acquiring and organizing music, fielding calls for gigs, and running rehearsals.
Over the next few years the band grew. Folks who had not played or years got their instruments out of the closet. And many young people, already active in the Middle or High School bands, joined as well. As the band increased in size and complexity, it became desirable to have an official conductor, a role ably filled by Donna Morse, a professional musician who, along with the rest of her family, had been playing in the band for some time. Today Donna conducts most of the concerts, slipping back into her clarinet chair when she is able.
In 2003 the Keene Sentinel published a story by Cheryl Jensen which provides more historical information as well as, what was at the time, a current overview of the band. Click here to go to the article.
The band continues the founding tradition of playing at the cemetery each memorial day.