About Us

The History of the Patriots Band

The Patriot Band was formed in February of 1977 under the sponsorship of VFW Post 1079 in Elyria, Ohio. Under the direction of VFW member Allen P. Jones III (1977-1979), the twelve-member ensemble originally served as a marching unit that would provide patriotic music to accompany the VFW members in parades. The band marched in parades, patriotic events, and VFW conventions throughout Ohio. In 1979, Tim Haury became the second leader of the Patriot Band. He directed them for the next fourteen years (1979-1993).

Photograph of Lori Couglin performing with Patriots Band at Sandusky State Theater Starting in 1993, Greg Trocchia from Vermillion served a brief tour of duty as director. Marching was less practical and the focus shifted to concerts. The ensemble quickly outgrew the VFW Post facilities. The bands repertoire grew and indoor concerts at performance venues throughout Lorain County followed.

By 1996, Harry Pfingsten took the helm as conductor. In his first twelve years, the band has grown significantly in both size and talent. Harry’s many affiliations with other music professionals have led the Patriot Band into a new era of musical excellence

Under Mr. Pfingsten’s direction, the Patriot Band has performed numerous indoor and outdoor concerts throughout Lorain County. They have also performed at State conventions of the OMEA (Ohio Music Educators Association) and at the historic Severance Hall, home of the Cleveland Orchestra. Among their achievements is the professional recording, American Salute.

Photograph of Patriots Band at Sandusky State Theater

Professional guests of the Patriots have included Alfred Reed (composer/conductor), Steven Melillo (composer/conductor), and Earl Louder (Euphonium soloist). Of special note is Loras John Schissel (conductor, Cleveland Orchestra, Blossom Festival Band and Blossom Festival Orchestra, tuba), who has a very close relationship with the band and rehearses them often.

The Patriot Band has remained in continuous operation for over 30 years, and a few original members remain with the band today. With many local music educators among the ranks, the all-volunteer group comes from a wide diversity of professions. Each city and town in Lorain County is represented, at ages ranging from teens to early nineties. The entire group includes seventy-five active musicians, providing a well-balanced instrumentation. No one in the band is paid, including the conductor.

The Patriot Band provides a place where local musicians, both amateur and professional, can continue playing music as a challenging and fun pastime. The Band also strives to demonstrate – especially to children and young adults – that playing a musical instrument is a rewarding activity that you can do all of your life.

Performances offer a wide range of repertoire, including patriotic selections, popular music, Broadway show tunes, sophisticated concert works, orchestral transcriptions, original compositions and arrangements by some of its members and “Big-Band” vocals featuring the talents of their singer, Avon Lake, Ohio resident Lorrie Coughlin. The Band performs approximately ten concerts per year at various locations around the Northeast Ohio area. A concert schedule is available online at the Concerts Page

The Patriot Band has been partially supported by grants from the Nord Family Foundation, Nordson Corporation, and by Donze Enterprises LLC, dba Ludwig Music Pubishing Co. of Grafton, OH and by LudwigMasters Publications.


Conductor
Harry Pfingsten
Soprano
Lorene Coughlin
Tenor
Brian Walsh
Soprano
Iria Calderhead
Musicians Photo Gallery
Visit our Sponsors page for information on how you can support the Patriots Band