The story of the Ringold Band can be traced back more than 100 years to 1909 as a Junior Boys’ band in East Carnegie. It was reorganized as a community band in 1925. Throughout its history the band took on various characteristics, according to what was popular at the time, and moved to several geographic locations in the southern suburbs of Pittsburgh. However, during its entire life, it has remained true to two guiding principles: to entertain the public with instrumental band music and to provide an opportunity for interested musicians to display their musical talents.
A century ago the public was often treated to the strains of military-style music during the many parades which were scheduled. Local fire departments sponsored bands, and these organizations competed against each other in frequent parades. At various times, the band, marching proudly in its red and blue uniforms along with flag twirlers and color guard, was called the East Carnegie Fireman Band, the Ingram Band, the Glendale Firemen’s Band and the Mt. Oliver Fire Department Band, depending upon which fire department was the current sponsor. For about four years during WWII, the band escorted inductees from the local post office to Penn Station.
Due to the scarcity of available players during the war, the band merged with American Legion Post 496. Following the war, it again functioned as an independent unit, moved to Mt. Lebanon, and was chartered as a non-profit organization known as the Ringold Band of Mt. Lebanon, Inc.
During the early 1950s, the band began to offer free concerts during the off season. It earned parade prize money during the summer and then kept in practice during the winter with concerts.
At one time, it was possible to participate in several parades every week. However, times and the public taste began to change. There were fewer and fewer parades, and few fire departments or legions sponsored musical organizations. Concerts gained popularity and became the focus of the band’s schedule. In 1998 the band officially discontinued marching and became strictly a concert band.
Seeking new venues to perform, the band decided that it could still entertain its former parade fans by taking its music to them at church fundraising events and in many of the local retirement and nursing homes. Today’s uniform is a cheery red logo polo shirt and black pants. Our mission remains the same: entertain our audiences with music which they remember and appreciate, put smiles on their faces, and get those toes tapping.
There have been many wonderful people who have contributed to the band’s rich history. Numerous remarkable directors put their personal stamp upon the organization. Countless dedicated volunteer musicians have shared their time and talent. Some members have belonged for decades, and there have been multiple families represented by two and three generations, often at the same time. Former flag twirlers and color guards now play instruments and still participate weekly. And every year, some volunteers form a pick-up band, march in a Memorial Day parade, and visit war memorials and cemeteries to play Taps.