Music helped lighten burdens of exiles

In the accounts of the somber trials endured by the saints as they were forced from Nauvoo during the winter of 1846 are found stories of some lighter moments, especially those provided by music.

With the advance camp of pioneers was a brass band, led by Captain William Pitt. B.H. Roberts wrote of the band's uplifting role in the early days of the saints' westward trek:"After encampment was made and the toils of the day were over, the snow would be scraped away, a huge fire or several of them kindled within the wagoned enclosure, and there to the inspiring music of Pitt's band, song and dance often beguiled the exiles into forgetfulness of their trials and discomforts. . . .

"A number of citizens of Farmington IowaT visited the camp, and, witnessing these festivities – I see not how they can be called otherwise, incongruous as they may seem to the circumstances of the exiles – invited the band to come to their village and give a concert. And the band accepted, with which the people of Farmington were highly pleased." (A Comprehensive History of the Church, 3:47.)

Roberts noted that this scene was often repeated as the band was invited to play in settlements along the route from Farmington to Council Bluffs, Iowa.


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Information compiled by Gerry Avant