This 2016 summer season of Wegman’s Concerts by the Shore has concertgoers hearing such varied groups as The Dady Brothers Grand Band, The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, The Greece Jazz Band, and the Skycoasters, with more to come.
Looking back through newspaper files, postcards, and photos of the last century and earlier, it is quite evident that music has always had an important part of each summer season at Ontario Beach. It all began in the late
The 1870s with the opening of the Spencer House. Soon after followed the upscale Bartholomay Cottage Hotel and Pavilion. The amusement park dominated in the early 1900s. The closing of the amusement park in 1919 and many gradual transformations later, has made the park into a city-county park, as it is today. Popular music mixed with light classics dominated the early years. Solo artists usually were featured along with the orchestra. The programs of yore, like those of today, mirrored the tastes of the average public of the day. Ethnic orchestras from many nationalities were popular, as well as soloists or trios of string instruments. Several lady orchestras with soloists drew crowds.
There was a multitude of bands, orchestras, and other performers through the years. Patrick Gilmore and his band stand out and were nationally known in the late 19th century. His band was one of the first that Edison attempted to record for his recently developed cylinder phonograph.
The Lapham, Link, and 54th Regiment Bands were local and popular in the early 1900s. The Rochester Park Band was well established by the time it first performed at Ontario Beach in the early 1920s. The Dossenbachs, Theodore and Herman, were prominent in the Rochester music scene. Theodore conducted the Park band until his death in 1924. Herman then took over for a tenure of 21 years. John Cummings, who had played in the band, took over for an even longer run of forty-two years. Edna White (shown in the 1925 park band photo) was nationally known and did a number of recordings for the Columbia and Edison companies.