The group has a long history going back to the late nineteenth century, with the current organization being formed in 1944. Members are from a very wide area and diverse backgrounds. One member has been playing in the band for 53 years! Musicians year after year are drawn to the great band music played by the Farmington Valley Band
Bands have been a tradition in the Canton/Collinsville area for over 100 years. The oldest band in the Farmington Valley was the The German Brass Band of Collinsville existed in the late 1800’s, seen in the above picture. This was followed by Simonds Military Band (picture below) , formed in 1890 by Casper Simonds who was an outstanding Trombone soloist. During World War I , 1916-1918 the local band was designated the National Guard Band. During the 20's the band was sponsored by the Collins Company itself, including the Collinsville Boys Band, quite a well known group.
The Farmington Valley Band was organized in 1944 by Fred Widen, a long-standing native of Collinsville. In a way, it was an extension of the earlier Collinsville Boys Band, in which Mr. Widen had been a tuba player. Fred Widen was the driving force behind the Canton Historical museum as well, with his extensive collection of Collins related artifacts. His original Sousaphone can be seen there today, along with a re-created bandstand from the old days, worth the trip to see it. In the 1944 band reorganization, Mr. Victor Viering was selected as the band’s conductor. Mr. Viering had been a trombonist in the Collinsville Boys Band.
Victor Viering conducted the Farmington Valley Band from its inception to 1971, when he retired. By that time, Mr. Viering had been involved with Collinsville bands for 61 years. Victor's son, Don Viering was also an active band member, receiving a lifetime acheivement award from the band on his retirement in 1996.
In 1971, Larry Hall took over as conductor. At that time, Mr. Hall was the music director of the Canton School System, a job he had for 21 years. He carried the baton until 1994, when he retired.
From 1994 to the present, Sam Hudak has conducted the band. Mr. Hudak, a native of Torrington, received his music degree from the University of Connecticut and taught music in the Chicopee Massachusetts school system. Prior to becoming conductor, Sam had been the band’s principal euphonium player. He also has composed and arranged music for the band, notably the "Canton Green March" . Sam has been associated with the band for over 40 years.
T o say that the Farmington Valley Band is a Collinsville/Canton tradition would be an understatement.
C ome hear the spirit in the current band music that some say is a hold over from the 100 years of marches, parades, concerts and festivals that echo still from our rich history of bands in Collinsville. Collinsville hasn’t missed a band beat in over 100