The Cortland Old Timers Band was a community band that was
re-organized in 1967 by John Discenza and Phil Natoli. Their goal
was to provide local musicians with challenging and rewarding
musical performance opportunities, and to inspire and entertain
the Cortland area community with live band experiences. To this
day, the band carries on with its original mission. The Band continues
to attract both young and seasoned musicians from the Cortland
area, which is abound with musical talent and generations of community
The Band's heritage can be traced back nearly 150 years, when
military and industrial bands were popular in the Cortland area.
The Old Timers Band had its birth in 1911 as
the Mascagni Italian Band, organized by Frank
Crisara. While performing for several years as the St.
Anthony’s Band (1925-37), and the Cortland
Civic Band (1937-58), the musicians found a special appeal
in the Italian community and its La Festa celebrations. Frank Crisara also directed the Old Timers Band after its re-formation, from 1967 to 1971. Note: For a school project a few years back, some local students wrote a "letter from Frank" to his relatives back in Italy, speaking as Frank, and talking about starting the band. If you would like to read the letter, please click HERE for a PDF version.
In more recent years, conductors have included Dr. Sam
Forcucci (1972 -1993) and Donna Yacavone (1994 – 2011).
Beginning in 2012, the leadership was passed to Edward
O’Rourke, chosen by the membership as their new
conductor, with Michael Poole as Associate
Today, the Band boasts approximately 60 volunteer members, ages
14 to 87, who strive to enrich the Cortland-area community and
future generations with their passion for live concert band performances.
Their concert selections range from traditional marches, overtures,
and patriotic songs, to popular Broadway, movie, and folk music
selections. Audiences become connected to the band via the interesting
and whimsical background on the music origins, the band members
and supporters, as told by the band's announcer, John Folmer (with many thanks to Margaret
Perfetti for her many years of services as the band announcer).
The Cortland Old Timers Band is a true community
asset which provides quality musical performance as a highlight
of regional events and celebrations.
For the celebration of its 50th year in 2017, the band received the following Special Recognition Award from The Association of Concert Bands.