This is a blog about music, photography, history, and culture.
These are photographs from my collection that tell a story about lost time and forgotten music.

Mike Brubaker
{ Click on the image to expand the photo }

A Picture of a Band

10 January 2014




In the corner of a parlor three unknown musicians play a trio for clarinet, piccolo, and piano. They hardly constitute a band as very few pianists can march and play at the same time.

So where is this Picture of a Band ?

Just behind the beer bottle on the piano desk there is a large photograph of a band with about 24 musicians. There are hazy outlines of cornets, tubas, clarinets, and drums. A drum major with a tall bearskin hat appears to be standing at the back. Written across the bass drum is a long name with letters almost readable, but the camera lens was focused somewhere else so it is forever blurred and unclear. It seems likely that at least two members of the trio are also in this photo. Sadly this is another musical mystery of time and place that will probably never reveal its secrets.

But just like with music, a photo always improves with beer.

This is my contribution to Sepia Saturday
where everything is by the book this weekend.


Wendy said...

And a second bottle on top of the piano. Wonder where the third bottle was.

I'm intrigued by the painting in the upper left corner. I swear it looks like one that belonged to my great-grandmother. It's painted on glass, I think, and has some mother of pearl here and there. In mine, the building to the right is a church, and there's a mill with water wheel on the right. Can you tell if this description matches your photo?

La Nightingail said...

Ah-ha! Wendy missed the MUG of beer on top of the piano behind the piccolo player. That is a rather unusual combination of instruments, though. I wonder what they were playing for?

Anonymous said...

That's lovely. On inspection I think I can see the word Colonials on the drum. Would that be a possibility ? Have you any Colonials Band photos ? Especially combined with the player wearing a busby in the back row. Did many of the American bands have their drum major wear a busby ?

Deb Gould said...

My first thought was that...these are brothers, playing in the front parlor...maybe?

Postcardy said...

It is interesting to see all the old photos in the background and how they were displayed. Pianos were popular display places.

Jackie Mc Guinness said...

Beer is always good!

Kristin said...

Until I went back and read the comment beside the close-up, I thought the beer bottle was a very small kerosene lamp. Wondered about that.

Alan Burnett said...

I love the discovery of the picture on the piano, just the kind of hidden detail that always attracts me. As well as tracking down the band, I would be tempted to track down the beer bottle.

Bob Scotney said...

It was the beer bottle on the piano that I looked at twice. It seems to have the type of top where the stopper is held in place by a hinged stiff wire. I remember this type of bottle for lemonade but not for beer.

Karen S. said...

Ah yes, a good brew that is! I liked your set up to this, very fun.

Boobook said...

I lovedd the way you told this story. Well done.

Peter said...

Maybe one day improved techniques will allow you to read the text on the drum. As far as dating this picture is concerned, I would base myself on the shape of the picture frames and the neck tie of the clarinet player. So that could be the 20's latest 30's. BTW that type of neck tie here is called a 'vadermoordenaar', translated a 'father killer' because these things almost strangled the wearer.
That type of clasp is used in Holland by the Grolsch brewery, maybe you remember. Or not ;)

Little Nell said...

A nicely composed picture if you’ll pardon the pun. This is just the sort of post that makes us scrutinise the details we would otherwise have missed; thank you.

Tattered and Lost said...

Love this deconstruction. Especially fond of the fellow who goes through time with his back to us.

And the little figurine on the piano looks to be a musician too, I think. Playing some sort of instrument?


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