While the photo hints at some of their exotic instruments, many of them are very exotic, indeed. Around the time of the Civil War, innovation in instruments was in full swing, there was a multitude of bands and orchestras, and a lot of effort was put in making a unique and interesting sound.
Out of the hundreds of new instruments, only a handful of the most popular kinds survived. The 1st Brigade has gone to a lot of effort to recreate a bunch of them.
I thought it was especially interesting about the direction of the bells on the brasses so that the troops marching behind the band could hear the music better.
I remember being a big fan of the marching bands in HS and college that did all the fancy figures and steps on the football field during half time. Then one day C Berkeley played Air Force and the AF Band stepped onto our field.
They marched in close formation and the sound was unbelievable for a small (compared to the Golden Bears) band. It just filled the stadium — no fancy tricks, just really good music.