FERGUS FALLS -- The Carlisle Band, as noted in a display at the county courthouse in Fergus Falls, is an example of the old community band that was popular even at the start of the 20th century, in 1900.

Carlisle Township’s band, originating in 1894, is still playing music today. It has continued in operation for 126 years. During World War II, from 1941 to 1945, only six members played in light of most band members serving overseas.

An early rival of the Carlisle Band was the nearby Oscar Township Temperance Band.

“It seems the two bands had disagreed on the use of alcoholic beverages in stimulating musical talent,” said Albert Hexum. “The Carlisle Band became known as the Beer Band.”

The good news is that the differences between the two bands were short lived. It wasn’t long before the two groups merged.

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Over the years the Carlisle Band has performed at many area parades.

Each July the band plays during the annual lunch and band concert performed on the grounds of the county courthouse. The three-story brick and Bedford stone structure courthouse was completed in 1922.

“This is Americana music at its best,” said Navy veteran and retiree George Myers of Fergus Falls in reference to the Carlisle Band.