National Award for Music

Aurora historical music project receives national award

Originally published in The Canby Herald on June 18, 2008

The Oregon Music Project, a project of the Aurora Colony Historical Society, has been named the recipient of a national award.

The Award of Merit was given by the American Association for State and Local History, an affiliate of the American Historical Association, for the high quality of its conservation work involved in the project.

The Oregon Music Project focused on conserving mid-19th century music composed and played by Aurora Colony members. The handwritten band playbooks were digitized and are being made available to Oregon schools in time for Oregon’s sesquicentennial celebrations in 2009.

George J. Wolfer of Aurora Colony and Pioneer Band, playing colony serpentine (ophicleide) in 1917 in front of William Hubbard log house.

George J. Wolfer of Aurora Colony and Pioneer Band, playing colony serpentine (ophicleide) in 1917 in front of William Hubbard log house.

The Aurora Colony was a communal society based in Aurora between 1856 and 1883.

The Aurora Colony Band was the de facto state of Oregon band playing at gubernatorial inaugurations, university commencements, state fairs and numerous community festivities.

The Aurora Historical Society acquired the band playbooks in 2002. This significant find has been carefully cleaned, photocopied and stored in appropriate containers. The copies were entered note by note into a computer program. The scores were created from the individual instrumental parts.

Using today’s standard notation and adding today’s instruments, the music. is ready to be played by school and community bands.

The American Association of State and Local History presents its Award of Merit to recognize excellence for projects (including special projects, educational programs, exhibits, publications, restoration projects, etc.), individual achievement and organizational general excellence.