When early photographers arranged the camera for a band photo, it was usually with the musicians facing the lens like The Cadet Band Another common photograph was the outdoor concert performance like the Mystery Band. But snapshots of a band rehearsal are most uncommon, especially ones that seem alive with sound like the Kid Band, from the State Normal School, Platteville, Wisconsin. Fourteen boys along with their teacher on cornet, sit at their school desks surrounded by chalkboards displaying a generous amount of musical classwork. Is it after noon? I make it out to be about 4:30.
Platteville is a small town in southwest Wisconsin, not far from the Mississippi river. With a heritage of lead and zinc mining, there are lots of miners in the census. But what kind of job was a "zinc roaster"?
The card back also has a stamp for M.A. Bishop - Books & Stationary, Wallpaper. There was a Platteville resident named Myron A. Bishop, born 1846 in Ohio whose occupation was listed in various decades as landlord or hotel owner. But by chance on the same page of the 1910 Census was another name, Clarence Riege - age 26, occupation: Music Teacher, usually a vocation description for young women.
The State Normal school, established in 1866, was the first teacher college in Wisconsin. So this class might be for more than elementary music. Clarence Riege remained in Platteville as a music teacher through the 1920 and 1930 census, and in one genealogy listing I find him as a "Prof." at the Normal School. Is he the band leader in the photo? Maybe, but it's just another guess.
My contribution to Sepia Saturday