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A Legendary Music Ensemble

Colour photograph of a group of musicians from the Coaticook Harmony Band, all dressed in black except for the president, who wears a colourful outfit. They're standing in front of their outdoor concert stage, with a red brick apartment building in the background.

Musicians of the Coaticook Harmony Band, 2016

If the Harmony Band has been able to survive for over 150 years, it’s due to the support of the town of Coaticook, and of many devoted people, such as its musical directors, its musicians, and most of all, the support of its loyal audience.

Michael Dougherty, January 2018

Formed in 1868, the Harmony Band of Coaticook is the oldest concert band in Quebec. In fact, it is still performing today. Although it’s impossible to say for sure, there are many clues that show its foundation as early as 1856. The band has evolved a lot over the years, achieving an iconic status today.

Michael Dougherty, Past President of the Coaticook Harmony Band (captions available in both FR and EN). View this video with a transcript (EN).

1950:  The Arrival of Majorettes

It was the idea of Victor-Laurier Vincent, the musical director at the time, to bring in a corps of majorettes. The first group of majorettes had their official debut in the summer of 1950, under the direction of drum major Robert Huard.

Black and white image of young women in white uniforms parading at the head of a band, made up of men in military uniform marching along Cutting Street in Coaticook, as spectators look on from the street, against a backdrop of trees and houses.

Majorettes Parading, circa 1960

1992: A Cultural Exchange

The band continued to grow, and under the presidency of Michael Dougherty in 1992, they embarked on a first cultural exchange with the Harmony Band of Jallais, France, which was under the musical direction of Yann Kermanac’h. The band made their first trip to Jallais from June 25th to July 13th, 1993. 57 people went on the exchange, of whom 45 were musicians. Ever since, the links between the two bands have continued to be fostered and have grown stronger.

Colour image of a group of people standing in front of the municipal hall in Jallais, France. Dressed in summer clothing, they are gathered in front of the entranceway of a grey brick building.

Welcoming the Coaticook Delegation at the Jallais Town Hall (France), 2016

1999: A Summer Camp Experience

An experiment that was ahead of its time made its mark in 1999. The Coaticook concert band invited young musicians to participate in a musical summer camp. Many young students participated, having a wonderful time. François Moreau was one of the first young people to take advantage of that opportunity to learn.

Colour photograph of François Moreau holding a brass instrument in his hands. He has glasses and is wearing a white shirt.

François Moreau, 1976-

2012: A Time Capsule Project

In 2012, as part of the planning and preparations for Coaticook’s 150th anniversary celebrations in 2014, Michael Dougherty came up with the idea for a time capsule. A partnership with the Coaticook Historical Society, presided by Carmen Michaud, was set up. The project was brought to fruition and presented to the public on September 12th, 2014; the capsule was buried 10 days later, on September 22nd at Chartier Park, and scheduled to be opened again a hundred years later, in 2114.

Colour photograph of four officials, two women and two men, posing beside the time capsule. They are holding documents produced for the 150th anniversary of Coaticook. Behind them is a partial view of downtown Coaticook.

Time Capsule Inauguration Ceremony, 2014