Under the Baton: Music at Old Cedar Point

Sandusky Library
Sandusky, OH

The city of Sandusky, Ohio and the larger community of Erie County have long been associated with world-renowned Cedar Point amusement park. A documentary was created about Cedar Point and its surrounding areas with the intention to preserve the history of traditional American band music at the park, to educate viewers about the economic and social factors that gave rise to the middle-class and amusement parks during the late 19th century, and to promote the rich history of Sandusky, Ohio and the Cedar Point amusement park.

Under the Baton: Music at Old Cedar Point is a 26-minute documentary that explores the growth of the middle-class, the increase in leisure time and leisure time activities – which included concert band music – and how all of that shaped and affected Cedar Point. More broadly, the video addresses the growth of amusement parks; how they served a new middle class, why traditional American band music was the music of choice for these parks, as well as the history of Cedar Point bands and bandleaders.

Under the Baton provided Sandusky Library with the opportunity to tell the story of the growth and development of traditional American band music at Cedar Point by incorporating archival materials from their collection. More than 125 photographs and postcards help illustrate the film and newspapers, documents, sheet music, and primary and secondary sources also helped form the research that went into writing the script.

In order to have a broad impact, lesson plans based on the current State of Ohio Social Studies Academic Content Standards were created by a licensed teacher to use with Under the Baton. Two copies of the DVD were sent to each school in Erie County and to each of the 44 library systems across Northeast Ohio.

The documentary incorporated a variety of original materials and wove them together to interpret an important local story with a wider regional and national appeal through an easily accessible and readily available format. The documentary helped increase interest in the institution’s organizational holdings and rediscover aspects of a cherished local institution. The documentary and the suite of programs that were assembled to complement the documentary have had a positive impact on the local Sandusky community and its interest in local history.