Cornish student band marches into town |

Cornish student band marches into town

The Cornish are in town again, but not to dig for gold like the 19th century immigrants from the British Isles.

This time, they’ll simply play music.

A 28-member student wind band from Penzance, Nevada City’s sister city in Cornwall, arrived in western Nevada County Saturday for a week-long trip. The group is staying with members of the Nevada Union High School band and will tour the area, visit schools and play at a free public concert at the Don Baggett Theater Thursday evening.

Sheila Stein, the vice mayor of Nevada City, is hosting a civic reception for the Cornish students today at 5 p.m. at City Hall. At the reception, Stein will proclaim the week of Oct. 29 through Nov. 2 “Penzance Youth Band Week.”

The exchange visit “really helps Nevada Union students, because they are not exposed to much diversity,” said Ken Carter, band director at NU. “In our area, students don’t experience other cultures as much as someone in San Francisco or Sacramento.”

This is the fourth time the wind band from Cornwall has visited western Nevada County, Carter said. Students from NU also have visited Penzance a couple of times, said Steve Roddy, former president of the Nevada Union High School Band Boosters.

Cornwall and Nevada County have had ties for more than a century.

Cornish workers, experienced in the coal mines of southwestern Britain, immigrated to Grass Valley and Nevada City from the mid-nineteenth century through the 1930s to work in the hard-rock gold mines, Roddy said. Due to the historic relationship between the two regions, Penzance and Nevada City became sister cities around 1996, according to Allan Rogers, chairman of the Penzance Sister City Committee.

“In 1956, President Dwight Eisenhower started the Sister Cities program,” Rogers said. “The thing that comes out of it is, if you become friends, you won’t have wars.”

“It’s great,” Carter said. “This has turned into a wonderful (cultural) exchange between them and us. And we are really glad they are here.”


To contact Soumitro Sen, e-mail or call 477-4229.

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