ROHRERSVILLE — Richard Haynes joined the Rohrersville Cornet Band when he was 15 years old and the trumpet player said the only music training he received was vocal lessons.
Haynes perfected his horn on his own in the band.
At 86 years old, Haynes is still playing in the band, an experience he values in daily life.
Haynes said whenever he experienced problems in the past, he always found respite in music.
“I felt I could come to the band hall and forget about it for a while,” Haynes said before the group performed its annual Christmas concert at the Rohrersville Band Hall on Main Street Sunday afternoon.
Community bands were popular entertainment before television and radio, but many have faded over the years.
But not in Rohrersville, where about 65 people crowded into the Rohrersville Band Hall Sunday for the Christmas show.
The band, which performs marches, show tunes, ragtime, big band and dance music, performs about 45 times a year, said Director Holly Feather.
Feather attributed the band’s longevity to people like Haynes, who kept the band going through turbulent times, like World War II. Haynes, who is a director emeritus, also worked to keep the band going as other forms of entertainment, like television and record players, gained popularity, Feather said.
Feather said the band — which has 51 members — keeps going today because of a simple love of music among its members.
“I think the (band) is a nice, clean atmosphere to be creative,” Feather said before the start of Sunday’s 3 p.m. show.
For its Christmas show Sunday, the group rolled through numbers like “Men of Ohio,” “Il Re Pastore Overture,” and a medley of holiday tunes called “A Christmas Festival.”
Lee Butts of Williamsport said he comes to the group’s performances because of the quality of the music. Butts said he was once a member of the group and joined, along with Haynes, in 1940.
Butts remembered when “band fairs” were held at the hall and the shows were followed by “penny bingo.” Winners of the games received tickets they could use to pick prizes, and oyster sandwiches were offered downstairs, Butts said.