Old Morrisville Brass Band Photos | Digital Traditions

The Old Morrisville Brass Band of Andrews, under the leadership of the late Isaac Davis, has kept the African-American community tradition of brass bands alive. In many rural African-American communities around the turn of the century, local brass bands were organized for social entertainment.

Called “picnic” bands for their usual performance locale, or “jump up” bands for the stirring effect they had on their listeners, these homegrown brass ensembles usually were composed of about a dozen men. Playing trumpets, cornets, trombones, clarinets, horns, and drums, in a style that formed the basis for early jazz, jump up bands had a repertoire that included marches, hymns, and spirituals. The Old Morrisville Brass Band has passed this tradition on to a younger generation of musicians in their community. The group has played for community gatherings and for public festivals throughout the region, state, and nation. Davis, the band's long-time leader, passed away in 2012. The band received the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award in 1993.