Paul Harnden was just a young child when he joined his family’s ranks of instrumental musicians.

At 28, he is also keeping a family tradition of being the director of the Old Crow Indian Band of Farmington. His grandfather, Stanley Harnden, directed the band for 30 years. His uncle, Robin Harnden also directed the band before Paul. His mother, Pam Harnden, performs in band. His son, Stanley, 5, and daughter, Isabel, 9, of Wilton are also involved. Paul’s father, Nate Harnden, has also participated in the band.

Paul Harnden performed in his first parade just before his third birthday when his father retrofitted his snare drum to a bass drum.  

He has directed the band through concerts and parades for a few years, but has been a member more than 25 years. Band members performed a summer concert series in Farmington this year as they have done for years and performed in parades around Franklin and Somerset counties. 

The Old Crow Indian Band members celebrated 65 years in July. 

Name: Paul Harnden

Age: 28

Town: Wilton

Profession: Self-employed logger and farmer

What sparked your interest into music? I was born into it. I attended Old Crow Indian Band concerts and parades from birth. Watched my parents play and grandfather play or direct. There were always musical instruments in the house I could experiment with. The Harndens also held old-time dances twice a month at their hall in North Chesterville.

How long have a you played an instrument? As long as I can remember. I got a toy drum for my first birthday and a real snare drum for my second. I played in my first parade a few weeks before my third birthday. My dad adapted the snare so I could play it like a bass drum and I marched in the Weld Memorial Day parade.

What instruments are your favorites and why? I don’t really have a favorite. I have always played drums and would often play at the family dances. I began playing trumpet in the 5th grade. At the Christmas concert that year the other trumpet player was sick so I had to do a short solo. I played baritone in middle school.

How does it feel to know you are conducting a band in front of — on many occasions — large audiences? It doesn’t bother me. I’ve always been around older people at band events and the dances. It makes me feel good that I can help bring music to other people.

Is it difficult to keep the beat of the music flowing for each section of the band? It can be challenging. One section will sometimes try to speed up or slow down depending on the particular piece of music. I look to the bass drummer to keep the beat I want.

Do you use a baton to conduct with? Yes. The baton I use is the one my grandfather, Stanley Harnden, used when he was director of the band.

Paul Harnden, 28, of Wilton directs the Old Crow Indian Band during a preformance.

Paul Harnden of Wilton has been the director of the Old Crow Indian Band since 2014. He has performed with the band for more than 25 years. Many family members — including his two children, Stanley and Isabel, have been involved with the band over the years.


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