Andover Public School students have always made a name for themselves musically, but none seems to evoke more nostalgia than the Punchard High School All Girls Band.
The girls band was formed in 1940 by high school music teacher Miriam Sweeney McArdle. Original uniforms were one-piece, long-sleeved dresses that ran below the knees. Hemlines rose in the 1960s and the style became one-piece, heavy, satin-lined military looking uniforms. The only all-girl band in the state, it received many awards over the years.
The group merged with the boys’ band in 1971, and by 1979 the Golden Warriors were introduced to competition with other high school marching bands. Initially sporting black and white, military-looking uniforms, a fundraising drive in 2004 bought uniforms that highlight the school colors of blue and gold.
Andover High School was again in the news in 1983 with the construction of a 1,250-seat, $4.5 million professional auditorium. In appreciation of J. Everett Collins’ long and generous musical career, it was named the Collins Center for the Performing Arts, and dedicated on Sept. 25 of that year with J. Everett Collins in attendance, at the age of 90.
The Collins Center continues to host a variety of performances, and serves as the location for many Town Meetings.
Recognizing the importance of “music as a force in history and society,” the high school also created in 2004 a course entitled “Music and Society,” featuring one section taught by a musician and another by a dancer. Among the themes presented were “music as a revolutionary medium,” “music as a means to break down stereotypes,” and “using music as a document to history.”
Music stores also have a history in downtown Andover and reflect the tastes of the times. William Allen opened his Victrola Shop at 30 Chestnut St. in 1913. By 1919, the shop was located on the second floor of 4 Main St. Post Office Avenue was home to two music businesses: Roland Moore’s Guitar Studio in 1966, and the store of “Rufus Pavubalis & Friends” in 1971, that advertised “records, tapes, headstuff and gifts.” Harold Phinney was well-known for his radio and television business, first opening at 66 Main Street in 1976, then briefly at 29 Barnard St., and finally to 85 Main St., site of the old Shaw estate on the now-Olde Andover Village parking lot. “Autograph Records” was at the Musgrove building in 1986.