In 1846, William Pitt's Brass Band from the Camp of Israel entertained Iowa townspeople along the Saints trek. On May 3, at an evening banquet, a re-creation of the band entertained attenders of the Iowa Mormon Trail History Symposium.
J. Mark Ammons, associate professor at Culver Stockton College in Illinois and a member of the Nauvoo Illinois Stake, organized the band last summer at the request of the stake presidency. The band is composed of his students."At the time, we thought they would perform just in Nauvoo," recalled Pres. Dan Hall of the stake presidency. Before they became members of the band, "most of them didn't even know where Nauvoo was. . . . Their introductory performance was in minus-12 degrees in Nauvoo on the 3rd of February."
Based on Dr. Ammons' research, band members dress in costumes similar to the original band's and perform with a flag duplicated from the original carried by the band.
Dr. Ammons told about the original 1846 band. He said the first band numbered 15, including Captain Pitt. The brass band buoyed the spirits of the pioneers nearly every evening and frequently played outside the tents of Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball, he said. "However some of the most important contributions made by the band were the frequent performances in the frontier settlements in Iowa as the company moved toward Council Bluffs. These performances not only helped to befriend the settlers to the Mormons but earned much needed supplies and money for the Saints for their westward journey.
After the concert, James B. Allen, professor emeritus at BYU and William Clayton's biographer, told of the writing of "Come, Come, Ye Saints." Then, Dr. Ammons directed the entire room in a spirited, a capella rendition of the hymn.