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 }

Top Hats on Parade

12 January 2018

Before the parade passes by
I've gotta go and taste Saturday's high life

Before the parade passes by
I'm gotta get some life back into my life

I'm ready to move out in front
I've had enough of just passing by life

With the rest of them
With the best of them
I can hold my head up high

For I've got a goal again
I've got a drive again

I'm gonna feel my heart coming alive again
Before the parade passes by!

Look at that crowd up ahead
Listen and hear that brass harmony growing

Look at that crowd up ahead
Pardon me if my old spirit is showing

All of those lights over there
Seem to be telling me where I'm going

When the whistle blows
And the cymbals crash
And the sparklers light the sky

I'm gonna raise the roof
I'm gonna to carry on
Give me an old trombone
Give me an old baton
Before the parade passes by.

* * *

Lyrics from "Before the Parade Passes By"
by Jerry Herman featured in his 1964 musical
Hello Dolly!

This is a photo puzzle that I've not been able to solve.
There are no markings on the postcard and very few clues.

The men in top hats look like a fraternal society of some kind
that liked top hats, white gloves, and ceremonial spears.
wooden clapboard houses, dirt street, trees, and utility poles
resemble a typical American town from around 1910.
But the band leading the parade wear uniforms
with swallowtail shoulder epaulets that were worn
by British or German military bands.

However I don't think this parade was
in Britain or the United States.
My best guess is that they are somewhere in Canada,
during a warmish season sometime before 1914.
And I bet all those children followed the parade
as they set off down the street.

Because it's a good song
that everyone should get stuck in their ear
for the rest of the day,
here is Jerry Herman's tune as played
by the mass Canadian military bands and choirs
at the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo 2009.

* * *

* * *

This is my contribution to Sepia Saturday
where the streets are paved in grit and grime.

The Line Up

05 January 2018

Ducks and Children.
We like to get them into nice neat rows.
Though ducks are generally more cooperative,
young band musicians sometimes can be persuaded
to form into a uniform straight line.

Right to left, shortest to tallest,
it looks even better
when the instrument sections
can stand together.

These eight boys, 5 alto horn players and 3 clarinetists including a small E-flat clarinet, offered the photographer with a perfect opportunity to arrange them according to height. They are unknown but an annotation on the back of their postcard photo reads "Warren, O(hio) Italian Band". A few do have Italianate features and I'd bet a couple are brothers but I've been unable to find any reference to an Italian band in this area of Ohio. The postcard style suggests circa 1910-18 but that is just a guess.

* * *

Of course photographers have been lining up families
since cameras were first invented.
This charming boudoir-sized cabinet card photo
of five children, two girls and three boys,
each with their hands placed onto
the shoulders of the next tallest
attracted my attention
as an extra to add onto
a purchase of another musical photo.

Their names are unknown,
but based on their button top shoes
I would date them at around 1900.
The photographer was

Wright Studio
2169 Washington Street,
Roxbury, Mass.

* * *

This last lineup offers an impressive number of bright faces smiling for the camera. They are the 13 musical children of Pastor William Fetler and his wife Barbara Fetler, who performed as the Rainbow Family Orchestra of Riga.

They first appeared in my post from July 2013 entitled The Rainbow Orchestra which tells the remarkable story of how the family band of Rev. and Mrs. Vaseely Andreyevich Fetler-Malof of Riga, Latvia came to America in 1939 just months before Hitler's invasion of Poland.

The first postcard has a date stamped on the back of 21 April 1939 and must have been made while they were still in Europe. This second line up, also by height but not necessarily by age I think, was made in America a few months later to judge by their 1940s American fashions and hairstyles. The names of the 13 Fetler children in descending order of age are Timothy, Lydia, Mary, Daniel, Paul, Philip, John, Elisabeth, Andrew, David, Peter, James, and Joseph. Rev. William Fetler's official US immigration form did not provide enough lines for that size family and their list necessitated a extra piece of paper.

This is my contribution to Sepia Saturday
where everyone is lining up for a Sepia New Year.


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