Today's Dodworth Saxhorn Band is modeled after the Dodworth Band of New York City, which was the premier brass band in the United States from the 1840s to the 1880s. The original Dodworth Band was directed by brothers Allen and Harvey Dodworth who were among the most highly respected musicians and bandmasters of the 19th Century. In 1985 musical instrument collector Alexander Pollock created the modern DSB as a living history project.
In keeping with its living history origins, the DSB uses only brass and percussion instruments that were built in the 1800s. The antique horns are conical-bore instruments commonly called "saxhorns". These handmade saxhorns are pitched higher than modern 21st Century brass instruments and produce a uniquely mellow tone. This class of brass instruments was invented in the early 1800s by Belgian instrument maker, Adolph Sax.
The band performs 19th century music including compositions and arrangements from the Smithsonian Institute, the Library of Congress, private collections and university libraries as well as a few new arrangements by musicologists who are experts in 19th Century brass band style and instrumentation. Our library contains nearly 230 arrangements.
The DSB has a year-round performance and touring schedule. Past performances include Ken Burns' ten part PBS documentary "Baseball" and a subsequent performance for "An Afternoon of Baseball" at the White House at the invitation of President and Mrs. Clinton. The DSB was also heard in Ken Burns' series "Jazz". The band has performed at the Great American Brass Band Festival, Danville, KY; The Tall Stacks Festival, Cincinnati, OH; the Victorian Ball for the centennial of the Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, MI; Greenfield Village/Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, MI; Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library, Fremont, OH; Midland Center for the Performing Arts and H.H. Dow Museum, Midland, MI; International Trumpet Guild, Akron, OH; the 1993 Baseball Hall Of Fame induction ceremonies, Cooperstown, NY; Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association; University of Michigan School of Music, Ann Arbor, MI; Thanksgiving Day Parade, Detroit, MI; Golden Age of Bands Festival, Vermillion SD; New Growth Arts Festival, Indiana, PA; The Calumet Theater, Calumet, MI The Cheboygan Opera House, Cheboygan, MI. The band has appeared on Detroit Public Television's "Backstage Pass" and NPR's Weekend Edition.