The Band has its roots in Sonoma as far back as 1848 with the Vallejo Garrison Band. We are the oldest local band in Sonoma County. The band is comprised of 100 percent volunteers. The current version of the Band was organized in 1967 when Richard Schneider retired as the music director at Sonoma Valley High School. Mr. Schneider got together with some of our town’s musicians and recent graduates of SVHS to form an extracurricular band. Several members have been with the band from its start.
The Sonoma Hometown Band has been a feature of the Sonoma Independence Day Parade since 1967. We are a true hometown band, open to anyone who has ever played a band instrument. We think that we look patriotic in our white shirts, straw boaters and red, white and blue sashes. Since the beginning though, we have had competition. The parade officials decided they needed two bands. Enter the “Other Town Band,” decidedly less professional-looking than the Sonoma Band in costumes and funny hats. We take a short-cut through the park and come around again. The whole town is in on it, and it is great fun.
For the Fourth of July, the core band of some 30 members is joined by members who have moved farther away, swelling to about 60. For many, it’s a time to catch up with the hometown relatives and band members they only see once a year.
Richard Sneider organized the current version of the Hometown Band and was our Director of Music from 1967 to 2011. In 2007 he was chosen as the “Sonoma Art Treasure of the Year.” The Band also awards the annual Richard Schneider Scholarship to deserving local music students.
In 1986, the Hometown Band began performing concerts! Today, the Band’s season goes from October through July the 4th. Currently conducted by John Partridge, we are a group of local musicans of all ages and backgrounds who perform free concerts and musical accompaniment at at some of Sonoma’s public events.
Two Christmas Concerts, two Spring Concerts, the 4th of July Parade, Sonoma’s Memorial Day Ceremony and at various community events.