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Sunday School band disbands at Dallastown’s Bethlehem United Methodist

The Bethlehem United Methodist Church Sunday School orchestra in a photo from about 1960. Paul Kuehnel - Daily Record/Sunday News

Bethlehem United Methodist Church’s Sunday School band played its last note recently. The Dallastown, Pa., band is shown here in 1960.  Also of interest: Dallastown Area Historical Society does the right thing: Promoting borough history on the web, too.

Realizing that there won’t be a next generation of orchestra members, Bethlehem’s United Methodist Church’s Sunday School Orchestra won’t play on.

John Hilton’s York Daily Record story tells about this passage of one of the last remaining such orchestras in York County. Fifty years ago, many churches fielded such bands.

YDR photographer Paul Kuehnel, covering this story, wrote:


Mary Jane Campanella, left, has been playing with the orchestra for 76 years. Paul Kuehnel - Daily Record/Sunday News

The band plays on in its final set at Bethlehem United Methodist Church.

“Live bands have always been part of worship in York County. I documented the last performance of one band formed in 1919, six of the members have 287 years of experience. See what they said and hear what they played in the closing moments of a century of tradition at Bethlehem United Methodist Church in Dallastown.”

Paul also wrote about the back story:

“During a talk about the band’s history the speaker held up a copy of the York Daily Record from 2001 for a religion story (I shot the photos, he pointed at me, “this man was there”) and said this story generated some interest and helped propel the band along another 12 years.

“So we recorded history twice and became part of extending dreams from the first story.”

Paul Kuehnel produced this video, too. For a gallery of 13 still photos, visit: Sunday School orchestra.