History of the Band
The Leominster Colonial Band had its beginnings in 1910, five years before Leominster’s incorporation as a city. Gaspare Bisceglia, a 16 year-old apprentice bandmaster, immigrated to Leominster from his native San Giovanni, Italy and soon gathered together fellow immigrant musicians to form a band. Known originally as the “Banda Regione d’Italia,” (Regional Italian Band), Biscegila molded it into an ensemble which could perform both intricate operatic arias and stirring patriotic marches. Over the years, the band has played at numerous civic events and parades, including Italian feasts in Leominster and Fitchburg, the dedication of the Spanish-American War monument, and Leominster’s V-J day parade. Bisceglia established a free summer concert series on the downtown common, which despite several changes of venue, continues to this day at historic Carter Park.
As the band’s role in the city evolved and its membership diversified, the band underwent several name changes, becoming first the “Italian Colonial Band,” and later, the “Leominster Colonial Band,” as it’s known today. Bisceglia was succeeded in 1967 by his son, E. Vincent Bisceglia, a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music and a gifted violinist. The younger Bisceglia directed the band for 31 years until his retirement in 1998, bringing to a close 89 years of Bisceglia leadership. In recognition of this remarkable service, the City of Leominster officially named the bandstand at Carter Park the Bisceglia Bandstand in honor of these two men at a gala celebration and concert. Leominster native Steven Piermarini, assistant conductor of the band since 1983, was appointed as the band’s conductor that year.
Under its new leadership, the band inaugurated its annual Christmas Concert, incorporated as a non-profit organization and launched its website, www.colonialband.org. In 2004, Leominster Access Television featured the band in the film documentary “Marcia Sinfonica,” which won two major film awards including the prestigious “Telly” for filmmaker Carl Piermarini. Audio tracks from the film were incorporated into the band’s first commercial recording, “Number 17!” which was released on CD in May, 2005. In December 2006, the band performed the world premiere of its first commissioned work, “Sinfonia for Band” by noted band composer Edward J. Madden. And in May, 2007, the Colonial Band was honored by the Center for Italian Culture at Fitchburg State College with their prestigious “Citizen of the Year” award, the first ever given to a group, in recognition of our contributions and dedication to Italian culture.