The Tuscarawas County Historical Society is pleased to be able to have a photograph of Tuscarawas County ’s only Governor A. Victor Donahey on the steps of the Ohio Capital in Columbus with the Dover Concert Band, one of the top bands at the State Fair for several successive years. The above photo was taken in 1924. Sitting with Governor Donahey is the director Dominic E. Greco. The band members are: Bottom Row (left to right): Rocco Contini, John Helwig, Chares C. Greco, Tony Antonelli, Fred Rini, Ed Rex, Walter Zimmerman, Art Lehman, Carl Meese, Oliver Bair, Roger Stoffer, and Charles Knisely. Middle Row: Benny Thomas, Caspar Contini Jr., Eugene Lightell, Elmer Schramm, Frank Lagatta, Leonard Jerome, Louis Ginnetti, Henry Haas (business manager), and Jack Stalling. Top Row: Carl Wolfe, William Antonini (father of the famed band leader Ray Anthony), Ralph Greco, George Wills, Clayton Kessler, James McBride, Caspar Contini Sr., and Joe Contini.
In 1917, the late Dominic Greco moved to Dover, Ohio from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Almost immediately after coming to Dover, he formed the “Italian Band” to play for public functions in the community.
After World War I, in 1919, he expanded his musical organization into the “Dover Concert Band,” and by 1926, the group – splendidly outfitted in dual-colored capes and plumed hats – were well on their way to becoming a group with statewide reputation.
By the 1930’s, they had six appearances at the Ohio State Fair to their credit, and then Governor Donahey, a Tuscarawas County native, included himself in their formal portrait of the beplumed band. One year they shared the State Fair program with the nationally known John Phillip Sousa Band. While the Sousa Band was performing, members were said to have played ill in order to hear the Dover Band.
Dominic Greco conducted the band for nearly forty years. When he started, there were no slide trombones or saxophone players permitted in the band. Those musicians in the United States who could play the French horn could be counted on one hand. Greco actively recruited what he felt was needed and the musical organization grew in both quality and prestige.
Harper Froman succeeded Greco as director. After Froman, Robert Lyon became director of the band. In 1973, the members voted to change the name from Dover Concert Band to the Dominic Greco Band.
Frederick Delphia, the present director, conducted the band from 1983 to 1990. The band took a short intermission for about eleven years. The band has performed every summer since 2001.
Under the direction of Delphia, the musical organization follows the tradition of a wide, cosmopolitan membership. Of the nearly ninety-five members, there are several area high school band directors, college students, high school students, and talented musicians from the business community.
Many of the musical arrangements being played are on loan from the Dover and New Philadelphia music departments.
To quote the late George Polce, New Philadelphia native and long time member of the brass section, “We owe our continued existence and prosperity to many. There is actually a waiting list and that should tell you about the band’s popularity.” Delphia added, “The old-fashioned concert in the park is still alive and well in the Tuscarawas Valley. We shall try every way possible to keep it that way.”
Delphia retired in 2018 and the band has continued under the leadership of Brian Botdorf, Cheryl Graham and April Linard.
Special Thanks to Dover Historical Society
and Dominic Greco family for these historical photographs.