Considered one of the finest ensembles of its kind in the nation, the Blossom Festival Band performs each summer in northeast Ohio, continuing a long and well-loved tradition of outdoor band concerts in the United States. The ensemble has its roots in historic American band music and some of its legendary leaders.
Band music has been a part of each summer’s musical offering at Blossom since 1969. That year, Fourth-of-July band concerts were presented as part of the second annual Blossom Festival. From 1969 to 1973, these band concerts were conducted by Meredith Willson (composer of Broadway’s The Music Man), who at age 17 had toured with the Sousa Band as a flutist. Based on the success of these concerts, a genuine symphonic band and concert program was organized under the direction of Leonard B. Smith, another of this country's most respected band directors (he was music director of the nationally known Detroit Concert Band for many years and a widely acclaimed cornet soloist). Mr. Smith made his Blossom debut conducting "The Golden Symphonic Band of Blossom Music Center" in "A Salute to Labor Day" on September 4, 1972. The success of that concert provided the impetus to schedule a series of concerts during the 1973 summer season, with a newly selected band of 65 instrumentalists from the Cleveland area. David Zauder (1928-2013), a former student of Smith and a longtime member of The Cleveland Orchestra's trumpet and cornet section, served as a guiding spirit for the Band and regularly performed as cornet soloist with the ensemble. Leonard B. Smith served as director from 1972 until his retirement in 1997. Since 1998, the Blossom Festival Band has been conducted by Loras John Schissel.
In 2004, the Blossom Festival Band recorded its first album, under the direction of Loras John Schissel. It was released as a CD by the Musical Arts Association (parent organization of The Cleveland Orchestra and the Blossom Music Festival).