The Charter Oak Brass Band was established in 1988 as Classic Brass. It was the brainchild of David Maker, a member of the University of Connecticut music faculty for 45 years. He conceived of the band as a way to provide UConn alumni, and other talented area musicians, an opportunity to continue performing after their college years. During its first few years, the band presented several public concerts in central Connecticut. An early high point was a May 1989 performance at the 1st Annual Wind Band Festival, held at Faneuil Hall in Boston, MA.
As the band has evolved over the years, it has been fortunate to have several talented and dedicated directors. Under the capable direction of Corinne Zanetti from 1997-1999, the band become a regularly performing musical organization, adopting a schedule of performances typically consisting of two concerts in the late spring and another two in the late fall/holiday season, including frequent appearances at the popular Festival of Trees & Traditions at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, CT.
Following Corinne’s tenure as director, band manager Dave Yutzey played a key role in the continuing success of the band, including bringing in a first-rate professional musician, Tom Labadorf, as director in 2000. During Tom’s tenure, the band continued to develop, increasing the number of performances each year and nearly doubling its repertoire, including some original arrangements by band members. In Fall 2002, Classic Brass gave its first concert with an all upright Eb horn section, another key step towards becoming a truly British-style brass band. Performance highlights included two trips to the Northeastern Brass Band Festival in Montclair, NJ.
In 2003 another outstanding professional musician, Adam Crowe, assumed directorship of the band. Adam is the principal tubist with the U.S. Coast Guard Band and brought deep knowledge of brass music to the band. Classic Brass enjoyed substantial musical growth and success during his tenure, the longest in the band's history to date, with many challenging pieces added to the band’s repertoire. The band made multiple appearances in the Boston Festival of Bands, an annual event at Faneuil Hall in Boston, MA. Adam stepped down from his position in summer 2017.
In the fall of 2017, the band welcomed Dan D'Addio as its new music director. In the summer of 2018 the band changed its name to Charter Oak Brass Band to reflect its deep roots in Connecticut.