Saturday, June 16, 2001

Gathering offers blast from the past

Historic cornet heard again at event

The Associated Press

        DANVILLE, Ky. — Steve Charpie wowed a crowd here with some old brass arrangements with a new brass band.

[photo] John Altman practices with the Advocate Brass Band at Newlin Hall on Thursday in Danville, Ky.
(Associated Press photo)
| ZOOM |
        Mr. Charpie, a musician from Los Angeles, played the E-flat cornet once owned by Felix Vinatieri, the bandmaster for Gen. George Armstrong Custer. Mr. Charpie is traveling with The New Custer Brass Band for this weekend's Great American Brass Band Festival.

        The audience gasped when Mr. Charpie played Vinatieri's instrument Thursday at the West T. Hill Community Theatre. He told them the instrument likely would not be played again after the festival.

        Mr. Charpie borrowed the instrument from America's Shrine to Music Museum in Vermillion, S.D. The instrument will be returned after the festival. Organizers expect to draw 50,000 people to hear nearly two dozen brass bands from around the country.

        Mr. Charpie played arrangements by the bandmaster who settled near Yankton, S.D.

        Custer heard Vinatieri play and enjoyed the bandmaster's arrangements so much, Mr. Charpie said, that he asked him to be the 7th Cavalry's bandmaster. Custer wanted the band to be at the Battle of Little Big Horn, but at the last minute the band's horses were taken away, and the band did not go to the battle, where the general met his end.


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