The Salem Concert Band and Bill Albright the director
Bill Albright was blind from birth and had developed amazing talents and senses. His main income source was making and selling brooms but he was also a very talented musician. From 1900-1920 he was the leader of the several area bands including the Salem Band. He sold organs and pianos and also gave lessons on these instruments as well as the violin. In the winter, the local farmers picked him up and took Bill to their homes to give lessons to the children. In nice weather, he would walk for miles to give music lessons. It was not uncommon for him to walk 16 miles to give lessons. It was amazing how he knew where to turn to get to the farmhouse. Sometimes he would be invited to stay overnight. It was said that he would get up early and play the piano for the folks still in bed.
Paynesville Historical Society History Book, Paynesville Year 125
1908, the Salem boys met at the brick schoolhouse to permanently organize a brass band. The charter members were: Fred Nehring, Marvin Nehring, Robert Nehring, Clarence Nehring, Robert Weber, Gustav Weber, Emil Weber, Albert Weber, W.H. Weber, John Weber, Robert Runger, Edwin Manz, Rubin Theel, Frank Behr, Charley Behr, Gustav Moede, Herbert Hein, Amandus Heitke, Herman Manz, Otto Theel, Frank Heitke, Herman Arndt, Herbert Unger, Arlie Gess, Arthur Gess, Emil Krupke, Artie Krupke, and Harry Behr.
'Tickets for the first Salem Concert Band program were 25 cents. Reserved seats could be had for an extra 10 cents at the City Drug Store. The men decided to make a donation of $20 to the public library after that first concert in November.' Paynesville Press, November 26, 1908
'The first performance by the Salem Concert band was held in Hanson's Hall in Paynesville. The band music was of course the feature of the evening and although the organization was formed less than five months ago, they play with a spirit and precision worthy of more experienced musicians. Several selections by the Salem Concert Glee Club furnished a pleasant diversion and were well received as were also two or three humorous sketches.'
Paynesville Press, November 26, 1908