All we know for certain (or more accurately, what we can safely assume from appearance) is that the photo was taken by the W.A. Bishop studio in Sandusky, probably in the 1880s or 1890s. Willard Bishop was a prominent local photographer, who arrived in Sandusky from his native Indianapolis as a young man in 1880. During his long career in Sandusky (he died in 1940), he was perhaps best known as the photographer of "society" and the prominent people within it.
The men in the photo apparently are from a drum section of a marching band -- with the drum major holding the baton, and the rest with their drums. Marching bands were a popular form of entertainment in American culture before the advent of the phonograph and the radio.
Do you recognize anything that could help identify this photo? Do you think you could make up a reasonable story for this picture?