The history of bands and music in the Antelope Valley is nearly as long as the history of Lancaster itself. The Almondale band is widely accepted to be the Antelope Valley’s first band and was composed of both men and women. Formed in the 1890s, the band is best known for its storied march down Lancaster Boulevard in 1896. The Almondale Band’s 1896 performance was evidently quite the spectacle to behold and was orchestrated as part of a political meeting involving the AV association and local Democrats. One notable member of the original Almondale band was Susie Wright Oldham Davis. Davis, who moved from Iowa to Almondale in 1895, was an important figure in Lancaster’s development. She would become a permanent Lancaster resident in 1899 after a drought hit the valley and forced her and many other Almondale residents to relocate.
Another local band was formed in the Fall of 1926 by Lancaster resident Paul Hubbard. The 25-piece AV band, also known as the Lancaster Town Band, performed at many events and civic functions throughout Lancaster and surrounding settlements. The band was said to have performed with “zest and flare,” and represented the growing community of Lancaster with pride when performing in neighboring communities.
Both the Almondale Band and the Lancaster Town Band had an inarguable effect on the music landscape of the Antelope Valley. However, it can be said that one woman had an even more profound impact on music in early Lancaster. Adelaide Ladd Kinnamon was a celebrated music instructor who spent over 21 years teaching music to students of the Antelope Valley. She arrived in Lancaster in 1921 and it didn’t take long before the small town’s residents began to affectionately refer to her as the “first lady of music.” In the 1940s, Kinnamon conducted the AV Little Symphony, which performed “Coffee Concerts” at Jane Reynolds Park in Lancaster. A farewell concert was held in the 1940s after Kinnamon announced her retirement from teaching. As a testament to the impact that she had on her students, over 200 of her pupils performed at the event, and much more undoubtedly attended the farewell event.
"Gurba, Norma H. Lancaster. Arcadia, 2005.
Photo courtesy of MOAH Collections"