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 }

Oreste Vessella's Italian Band

26 May 2018


His sparkling white uniform positively glows
with the musical authority of a noteworthy bandmaster.
With his baton tucked under his crossed arms,
he stands center
between
the two highest wind instrumentalists,
the piccoloist and E-flat clarinetist,
and is
surrounded by his bandsmen
who are dressed in matching dark uniforms.







On his right are more clarinets, tenorhorns, chimes, and timpani. 






On his left are more trumpets, euphoniums,
horns, valve trombones, bassoon, and bass drum,
making a total of 41 musicians.





This is
Oreste Vessella's
Italian Band

on the Steel Pier of Atlantic City, New Jersey.


In 1911 you did not have to visit
America's most famous seaside resort
to hear Maestro Vessella's Band.


Source: 1911 The Theatre vol. 14



Instead you could relax in front of your
Victor Victrola
and tap your toe to the sound of
nine of the greatest military bands on earth:



Vessella's Italian Band
U. S. Marine Band
Pryor's Band
Sousa's Band
Kryl's Bohemian Band
Police Band
of Mexico
Garde Republicaine Band
of France
Black Diamonds Band
of London
Royal Military Band
of Madrid







As we can see, the illustration of Vessella's Italian Band used in the Victor-Victrola advertisement is a variation of the band's postcard photo, this time having Maestro Vessella seated with the same bandsmen. The postcard was mailed from Atlantic City on the 4th of July1913 when surely the band played every patriotic tune they knew for the holiday patrons.




But before we go any further let's hear what Oreste Vessella's Italian Band actually sounded like. Here is the Grand March from Giuseppe Verdi's opera Aïda as performed for the Victor Talking Machine Co. on November 5, 1912 in Camden, New Jersey, just across the Delaware River from Philadelphia. This streaming sound file comes from the Library of Congress archives.


* * *


* * *

{Click any image for a larger view}




Atlantic City was not a typical American township. It was first conceived as a seaside retreat by developers in 1853 when the first hotel was built to attract people who sought the healthful benefits of sunshine, saltwater, and ocean breezes. In the post Civil War decades, the railroad magnates and hoteliers soon recognized Atlantic City as a real money-maker, as by 1874 the trains from Philadelphia brought over 500,000 passengers a year to the oceanfront resort. The famous boardwalk was originally just a temporary seasonal construction to reduce the amount of sand tracked into hotels by the guests.  The big boom period came in the first decade of the 20th century when more hotels and casinos were built alongside the beach amusement strip.

These gigantic hotels attracted large business and social groups as well individuals and families. The allure of seaside recreations and novelty amusements appealed to people who rarely encountered ocean waves. Even A. H. Klausmeier of Kansas City, Missouri learned something about Atlantic City in September 1909.



Art
We landed
membership
on Advisory Board
Otto






Jutting out from the boardwalk, across the wide sand beach and into the ocean was the Steel Pier. Finished in June 1898 it eventually reached 2,298 feet (700 m) long, though over the years Atlantic hurricanes and fires have now reduced it to just 1000 ft.

On August 27, 1909 Miss Henrietta Held of Pittsburgh received this postcard with a birdseye view from the Dunlop Hotel in Atlantic City of the Boardwalk, Steeple Chase, Steel Pier, and Beach.



Atlantic City 8/26 or 27
Frederick is fat + getting fatter
I am bad + getting worse.  We
don't want to come home.
Evaline + Frederick
at the "Hygeia" hotel.







The Steel Pier, Atlantic City, NJ, circa 1915
Source: Wikipedia







Though there were a good number of hearty souls who enjoyed swimming in the ocean, I think the principal recreation in Atlantic City during the 1900s was strolling and sitting. The Steel Pier accommodated a lot of room to do both and provided shade for the more sensitive folk.

Just three weeks before Evaline & Frederick's note, Miss Henrietta Held received a postcard from Atlantic City showing crowds of people on the Steel Pier and under it too. 


8–1–09
"I am trying
to make my
eyes behave"  Lots
of boys down
here from Pitts
J. M.






In this age before amplification, the Steel Pier had a specially designed central concert stage covered by an arched roof. The audience sat on rows of park benches that allowed people to come and go as they pleased. This postcard shows several hundred people under the Steel Pier's Music Arcade listening to Vessella's Band. From 1903 to at least 1916 Oreste Vessella's Italian Band was the featured band at the Atlantic City Steel Pier. Programs included arrangements of popular opera music, many written by Vessella, that included German and French operas as well as Italian. There were marches of course, and various dances medleys from polkas to waltzes. Usually there was a solo instrumentalist or vocalist on every concert.

In August 1918, Miss Mildred G. Price of Brightwood in Washington, D.C. got this card of Vessella's Band from someone who enjoyed music.



Dear Mil:
This band has all
gone back to Italy to fight
but we heard a wonderful
symphony orchestra on
this pier last night.
It is lovely down
here and we are at a
d.... (unclear) place.   Dot


What Dot refers to is the Great War of 1914-18. It is easy to forget that there were many belligerent nations embroiled in this horrific war. Initially Italy belonged to a secret Triple-Alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary. But in 1915 Italy rejected its Germanic compact and instead joined the Triple Entente of the Russian Empire, the French Third Republic, and the United Kingdom. Italy's main national interests were along its borders with Austria and the Adriatic nations. Most of its battles were against the Austrian-Hungarian forces and fought in the Alpine regions of the Austrian Littoral and northern Dalmatia.



Though I have not discovered reports that any of Oreste Vessella's bandsmen actually did go back to Italy, as most of the musicians, including Vessella himself, were born in Italy, many would have considered it their patriotic duty to King Victor Emmanuel III and/or Italy's constitutional government to return to the aid of their countrymen. Vesssella's band did appear on the Steel Pier bandstand in the summer season of 1916, but not in 1917, so perhaps some of the band were absent that year. However it may be that Vessella just found a better gig.

In June 1918 his band was playing at the Rocking Chair Movies at Brighton Beach in Manhattan. The picture "The Toys of Fate" was silent of course, and the band provided the musical accompaniment. The venue was a novel outdoor cinema with the large screen placed in the ocean before the huge veranda of the Brighton Baths, (and) may be viewed easily by thousands of spectators. The feature films are shown successfully both at high and low tides. This theater is probably the only one in the world whose seating capacity if affected by the rise and fall of the ocean.

Brooklyn Daily Eagle
26 June 1918



Oreste Vessella was born in Alife, Italy in 1877. He was the nephew of Alessandro Vessella (1860-1929) the celebrated leader of the Band of Rome. Oreste trained as a clarinetist in Naples and then did further study of composition in Genoa. He came to America in 1901 as just an ordinary musician in an Italian band embarking on a nationwide tour. In about 1902 the band's conductor became ill, and the young clarinetist Oreste took up the baton. He was such a success that he never handed it back. By 1903 his name appears as a band leader appearing at the Atlantic City Steel Pier. Between 1915 and 1927 he wrote the music for a few comic operettas which played in New York and Philadelphia theatres. They didn't play long and the shows are now forgotten.


With the advent of sound films and then radio in the 1920s and 30s, the public's interest in the grand traditions of Italian band music rapidly began to dim. As recordings of jazz and pop music took over the show business charts, the phrase "Big Band" no longer referred to a large concert wind ensemble like Vessella's band.

Yet once upon a time thousands of people heard beautiful music drifting across the beaches and along the boardwalk of Atlantic City. The sound of an Italian band became an integral element of American ever evolving musical culture. And it was not just the band's wonderful interpretations of opera melodies that became part of our popular conscience. The Italian instrumentalists also influenced the playing styles of American musicians. The Italian fondness for agile clarinets and piccolos, brilliant trumpets, and bombastic bass tubas, became musical sound colors that American players and composers much admired and imitated. Just as German, Bohemian, Hungarian musicians contributed to America's love of music, so did Italian musicians like these bandsmen.


_ _




Oreste Vessella died in Atlantic City on the 20th of June 1963.


The Billboard
13 July 1963




Pittsburgh Daily Post
04 October 1903









Anaconda MT Standard
10 August 1911



I could end my brief account on Oreste Vessella,
the great Italian bandmaster of Atlanic City here.
 
But my research revealed a fascinating love story
that is worthy of another post.
The following clipping should be
enough to entice my readers' interest.




Buffalo NY Sunday Morning News
21 February 1904

So stay tuned
for a sequel on Oreste Vessella
inspired by

The Long Distance ’Phone Romance
of the Millionaire's
Daughter and the
Italian Band Master.

an Atlantic City Love Story





Bizet's Carmen Selection performed by Oreste Vessella's Italian Band.
It was recorded on November 8, 1912
and is preserved in the archives of the Library of Congress.


* * *


* * *









This is my contribution to Sepia Saturday
where this weekend everyone's heading for the beach.

http://sepiasaturday.blogspot.com/2018/05/sepia-saturday-420-saturday-26-may-2018.html






The Children's Home Band of Des Moines, Washington

19 May 2018


Most parents have had this experience.
You are on holiday and see
some stranger's child
about to attempt some precarious stunt.
You forcibly swallow an urge to shout,
"Get down from there! Don't you know you could fall!"


Mother is absent from this picture of 21 young kids
perched atop a balancing rock high above a river.
However "Daddy" is there, standing below them.
But he is not so risk-adverse
as evident in his picture on the back of the postcard
balancing a small girl on his hand.

.




BABY EDNA
So small she stand on "Daddy's" hand and
plays solos on her cornet.
CHILDREN'S HOME, Des Moines, Wash.
H. M. Draper, Superintendent







The children are not actually that unsafe
as they are sitting on the famous Umbrella Rock
at Lookout Mountain, Tennessee.
It's geographical fame comes its dramatic view
of the Tennessee River and city of Chattanooga,
and as a strategic battle site in the Civil War.


Umbrella Rock on Lookout Mountain, Chatttanooga, TN
Source: The Internet


And the reason the children have no one
to remonstrate their risky behavior
is sadly that most, if not all, are orphans.
They are wards of a private Children's Home
in Des Moines, Washington and
Superintendent Herman M. Draper is their sole guardian.
He and his 21 children, ages 6 to 15, are returning
to their home near Seattle, Washington
after a year-long musical tour of America.



Mr. H. M. Draper was a native of Canada, born in Ontario in 1857, but had been living in the United States since 1882. He considered himself a teacher of music, specifically for the voice using a music education technique called Solfège which uses syllables for the musical scale pitches, i.e. Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Ti. His first employment in 1887 was in several Nebraska public schools where he developed his ideas of teaching children music. Later in 1897 he moved to Calumet, Michigan here he set up a music store and taught piano, voice, and string instruments. In 1903 he quit his business to run the Good Will Farm and Home Finding Association, a sanctuary in Houghton, Michigan for abandoned or orphaned children. At this institution he applied his ideas of music education and set up up a small band for the children that was successful enough to play public concerts around the region. 

In 1906 Draper decided the rules at the Good Will Farm were too restrictive, so he and his wife Annie determined to establish a new home for orphaned children in the Pacific Northwest. Initially they considered Seattle, but found a more suitable location in Des Moines, WA. They called it the Children's Industrial Home, and named the children's band, The Jolly Entertainers. This postcard shows the group as it was in 1910. Fourteen children in neat regular Sunday dress hold mostly brass instruments with one clarinet and two drums. It was addressed to Mr. Loren Briley of Atlanta, Michigan and postmarked Missent Jun 30, 1910.




Tacoma  June 30, 1910
Good morning Mr
Loren and how are
you feeling?
I am feeling fine
Uncle John


The Des Moines Children's Home endeavored to teach children a practical trade, which H. M. Draper believed included music and theater crafts too, so all of his wards learned to sing and play a musical instrument. Children were sent to the local public school but worked at the home's farm and gave public concerts with the band and in theatrical shows. As part of the home's vocational training and fundraising efforts Draper also acquired a printing press which produced a wide variety of souvenir postcards. By 1915, nearly ten years since establishing the self-supporting orphanage, Draper and his wife provided refuge to about 37 children. Many of them had either lost both parents, or circumstances had left them abandoned by a surviving parent. There were several brother/sister groups too.

This four page double-sided postcard shows the Draper Children's Home Band at a concert given in Davenport, WA on Oct. 28, 1915. This band is larger with 20 young musicians. The oldest might be 15 and the youngest about 6. Again mostly brass instruments: cornets, alto horns, trombones, tubas and one clarinet with three drums.




The center pages contain a mission statement from Herman M. Draper expressing a universalist-like ideology that is surprisingly free of religious dogma or political doctrine.



RELIGION

"All  religion has relation to life. and the life of religion is to do good."  "Suffer little children to come unto me," said the Master, and "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these ye have done it unto Me."

God is love, and without love there is no God. The great Divine is the center of life of the universe. All we have or are can have no other source.

Personally, I have no creed. I believe in the Brotherhood of Man and the Fatherhood of God. All are my brothers, whether Protestant or Catholic. I know neither Christian, Jew. Atheist. Infidel, Saint, Sinner or man labeled with any belief — I know him only as my blessed, beloved and eternal brother, soul of my soul, heart of my heart, mind of my mind, eternal child of my All-Father-Mother. The same Divine life that permeates all nature flows into every human being, and I have no right to criticize or judge my fellow man. My religion is to "Do good for good's sake." I allow all others to think and act for themselves in matters of politics and religion, and all I ask is to have the same privilege accorded to myself. God Knows all hearts — let Him be judge.
             There is but good, there is no guile,
             For God fills all space all the while;
             If God, good, love, does fill all space,
             Where is the evil, here to trace ?
             So let us strive then all the time,
             To fill our lives with thots (thoughts) sublime,
             And live and love both day and night.
             And love will change all wrong to right.
                                                                   — H. M. Draper

* * *

CHILDREN'S HOME
H. M. DRAPER, supt. DES MOINES, WASH.
A SELF-SUPPORTING CHILDREN'S HOME

We receive no help from County, State, Church, Lodge or Charitable Institution of any kind.

We never solicit subscriptions, but friendly donations of any amount are never turned down. If we had the means we would soon have 100 boys and girls.

Some of our children have a father or mother who pays for them, but the majority have no one to help them.

Some of our little folks attend the Public School, and every child is taught music. both vocal and instrumental.

We have no special visiting days, but visitors are welcome any old time.

We have no children to give away or place in homes. This is their home, and here they remain until they grow up and want to leave.

We have a complete Printing Plant, including 75 fonts of type, 4 presses, paper knife, gasoline engine, etc.

We own our own Opera House. with stage. curtains, scenery, etc.  Here we teach and train our children in everything necessary for first-class Musical Comedy and Vaudeville Entertainments, and it is used for a playhouse in wet and cold weather.

Our property consists of 12 lots. our Home Building, Printing Office, Opera House and our new 5-acre water front, where we hope to build our new Home. We owe $2,000 on our water front property, have a $200 mortgage on our Home and $500 floating indebtedness. We hope to clear all this up very soon. It is Love's storehouse and we are trusting our. friends to help get it out.

We are located half way between SEATTLE and TACOMA, on the Sound, four miles from the Interurban
at O'Brien's, and five miles from Kent. The Pacific highway, Seattle to Tacoma, goes through Des Moines and crosses our, property.

Steamers leave Seattle. Colman Dock, daily at 2 P. M. (Sundays 9 A. M.) Leaves Tacoma, N. P. Dock, at 6:30 A. M. (No Sunday boat.)

We now have 37 Children, all our Home will hold.

If you are interested and want to know more, come and see or write for information.

                        H. M. DRAPER, Superintendent,
                        Des Moines, Washington.












This image is clipped from another Des Moines Children's Home postcard. It shows two small girls, one with a piston valve alto horn and the other with a side action rotary valve cornet.


Claire & Neva Stitt, Ages 11 & 9
Two Youngest  Soloists in America


Mr. Draper believed that travel was itself an important education, so part of his fundraising was to support concert tours with his orphan children's band. When Draper, his wife, his sister-in-law (who was a school teacher), and 21 children set out in June 1924 they were headed for Florida in three custom made buses. One vehicle had a kitchen with dining tables, another carried the baggage and instrument cases, and the third was equipped with sleeping cots and a clever fold-down stage. The 1920s bus engines were capable of only about 24 horsepower with a top speed of around 20 miles an hour. In January 1925 they reached Titusville, Florida  and posed in front of one of the buses. Draper sits in the center amidst the children, while his wife Annie and sister-in-law look out the bus windows.



The Children's Home Band did not return to Washington state
until December, 1925.
In 18 months they had covered over 14,000 miles,
traveling through 30 states,
and performing countless concerts.
 




The remarkable story of Herman and Annie Draper's orphanage deserves another post as I have a number of other postcards and clippings that I would like to show. Stay tuned for a sequel. 

Meanwhile more information on their history can be found at the Des Moines, WA Historical Society website and in an essay by Peter Blecha entitled Jolly Entertainers: The Draper Children's Home Band.




UPDATE














This is my contribution to Sepia Saturday
where no stone is ever left un-turned.

http://sepiasaturday.blogspot.com/2018/05/sepia-saturday-419-19th-may-2018.html



Pulling a Face

11 May 2018


Phhluuubbbbb!








Glgaaaaggg!









Errrrqqq!









DDhuuuhhhh!









Mmmhmmmm!






* * *






The first jester with the flexible face
is clearly the same man as the last cheery fellow.
Though his name is not marked I think in his time
he was a very recognizable humorist.
He reminds me of the comic actor Jim Carrey
and I expect he had a similar rapid-fire wit.

This postcard was sent 1902
from Seeshaupt, a Bavarian lakeside town south of Munich.







* * *




The second joker who has swallowed his nose is
 

 Egon Breitenstein-Brandt,
der bekannte Humorist

~
the well-known humorist


His postcard was not mailed
but was published in Lübeck, Germany,
a port city on the North Sea,
in a paper style that I think dates it
from the Great War years 1914-18.



* * *






The third stooge with an uncomfortable grimace is

Dir. Emil Reimer
Drastischer Komiker
~
Dramatic comedian



Another of his cards with the same sour face
was featured last year
in a post entitled Stupefaction!
This card was posted on 2 June 1913
from a German town whose first letter is Z
but the name is obscured to read clearly.








* * *







The next buffoon wears a costume
that I believe marks him as
a kind of Charlie Chaplin type bumpkin
His name is
 Paul Röhrig
der Urkomische
~
the hilarious
 
St. Adr: Ohligs, Südstr. 68


His postcard was not mailed
but likely dates from 1910 to 1915.








 * * *







The last card is printed in color
but the photo of this unknown comic
was obviously produced at the same time
as the first sepia-tone postcard.
The postmark date was 9 November 1913
from Metz, a city in northeast France
located at the confluence of the Moselle and Seille rivers.
But from 1871 to 1918, the city was the capital
of the German Imperial Territory of Lorraine.






Some days you just have to laugh!









This is my contribution to Sepia Saturday
where there's never any wait for a seat.

http://sepiasaturday.blogspot.com/2018/05/sepia-saturday-418-saturday-12-may-2018.html



Yours Truly

04 May 2018


This is a tale about two horn players.

On the left is a young military bandsman from Sweden.
His name is Adolf.

On the right is a much older horn player from Canton, Ohio.
His name is George.

As far as I know, they've never met before until now.
But both are at the opposite ends of a timeline.

We will get to Adolf later,
but first I'd like to introduce George.








His photograph is a simple
postcard., unmarked except
for an inscription at the bottom.

Yours Truly —

G. E. Krabill


The man looks aged sixty something. He is dressed in a crisp uniform with stripes on the trousers and sleeves, a braided cord aiguillette, and a Sam Brown belt, but as there are no insignias  this is just a civilian version of a military-style bandsman uniform. His instrument is a double horn in F/B-flat, likely an American version of a C.F. Schmidt design with a piston thumb valve. 
 
There is a hint of a gentle smile and his spectacles soften the lines on his face. His photo has been in my collection for some years but this week I decided to check if I could properly identify Mr. G. E. Krabill.

_ _ _




The last name is not uncommon and his initials produced too many choices, so I tried search using George as his likely first name. Bingo! Like finding the right thread in a knot of yarn, the mystery magically untangled. This genial old horn player was George E. Krabill of Canton, Ohio. In 1940 he had to register for the Selective Service and his draft card was preserved in the Ancestry.com archives.






According to the card's flip side, his eyes were brown, and he stood 5' 5" tall, weighing 150 lbs. He worked for the Timken Roller Bearing Company - Dept. #61 in Canton.  At the bottom of the card is his signature, a near perfect match for the handwriting on the photo.





With this confirmation it was easy to get more information on George's life. He was born in Ohio in 1886, the oldest son of Henry and Elizabeth Krabill. In the 1900 census Henry, his wife, and four children resided in Canton where he worked as a teamster. By the 1920 census, George Krabill, still living in the same neighborhood, was married to Laura Krabill, and employed as a machinist. They had no children at that time, nor in the 1930 census, but did care for a nephew and niece, ages 12 and 8.

Yet all of this rather mundane data of family genealogy didn't really tell us anything about George and his horn. However a search through the Canton newspapers revealed that this kindly old horn player was quite a working musician. In 1923 at a concert of the Thayer Military Band, the program included a Serenade for Flute and Horn by Titl, with soloists Mr. Frank Vignos and Mr. George Krabill. It was preceded by Rossini's Overture to Semiramide which begins with a  wonderful horn quartet. There was also a tuba solo with the intriguing title "The Octopus and the Mermaid" – a Deep Sea Serenade by K. L. King. This  was the 31st annual complimentary concert at Canton's civic auditorium.



Canton OH Daily News
28 March 1923

The Thayer Military Band was a semi-professional wind ensemble of about 30 musicians, first organized in the 1890s by a trombonist named H. Clark Thayer and William E. Strassner, who in 1923 was now the band's director. It began as a boys band but its musical talent quickly rivaled Canton's other adult bands. In its early years it provided music for many Ohio political events featuring Canton's favorite son, William McKinley, including playing for the president's funeral procession in 1901.

For a few weeks each year the Thayer Band changed uniforms and served in the Ohio National Guard. In 1933 they were called the 135th Field Artillery Band, under the direction of Warrant Officer William E. Strassner.  Corporal George Krabill wrote a march for the battery commander.



Canton OH Repository
03 February 1933




The population of Canton, OH jumped from 30,667 citizens in 1900 to  over 104,000 by the 1930s. Not surprisingly the city had many fraternal organizations, and George Krabill was a member of one, the Nazir Grotto masonic lodge. Like most of these societies it had to have a band, and George not only played horn but was the band librarian too. In April 1938 for the Nazir Grotto's 7th Spring Music festival, one of George's marches, the "Syria Shrine Band", was performed. It was reported that he had written about 300 parts for the spring fest.

Canton OH Repository
17 April 1938





Canton OH Repository
03 August 1938














George was also the first horn in his employer's company band at the Timken Roller Bearing Company. In the summer the band performed free public concerts in Canton parks. In 1938 the program included a march by George Krabill entitled "Timkenites".









_ _ _




That summer of 1938, the Canton newspaper ran a feature article about George Krabill's music making. It included a picture of him strumming a mandolin which was the instrument he used to work out the melodies for his compositions. At that time he had produced 45 pieces, mostly marches with some overtures, serenades, and concert waltzes. He said the market conditions at that time were not good for selling his music, but he hoped one day that his music could match that of another Ohio composer, Karl L. King, a noted circus bandmaster and a former member of the Thayer Band. One of Karl King's most recognized works is his famous  Barnum & Bailey's Favorite.



Canton OH Repository
19 July 1938


The following year in March 1939, the Canton paper ran another full page story on the Thayer Band to celebrate its 47th annual spring concert. It included photos of the director William E. Strassner and several bandsmen of long tenure, one of whom was George E. Krabill with 29 years tooting his horn in the band. He was also the band's librarian. The Thayer Band was specially proud that many of its former musicians were now bandmasters and performers in many major wind ensembles across the country.


Canton OH Repository
12 March 1939



Eleven years later in 1948, George's picture appeared in the newspaper again for a concert of the McKinley High School Band. He had composed a new march, "The McKinley Bulldog Band on Parade" which was to be premiered. President McKinley's home in Canton was across the street from the high school which was built in 1918. McKinley did not keep a bulldog as a pet, but he did have a Mexican double-yellow-headed parrot named Washington Post. Parrots are very poor at marching.


Canton OH Repository
08 April 1948


That march was likely his last composition
as George E.  Krabill died on April 1, 1949 at age 63. 



Massillon OH Evening Independent
02 April 1949


What surprised me in my research was to learn how many different kinds of bands George E Krabill was a member of throughout his musical career: company bands, fraternal bands, community bands, military bands, and probably some orchestras as well. Discovering he was a composer too was an extra bonus. Though I don't know any more than what I've found in newspaper reports, I strongly suspect George never went to college, never attended music conservatory, and never took formal studies in music composition. He represents a kind of self-taught musician, once common in American cultural life and very typical of the musicians pictured in my photo collection, who learned by listening and playing in bands. His background was clearly very working class, a classic blue-collar factory life, and yet he filled it with creative music making. That's quite an artist's life to be contained in a simple postcard.





By now, readers may wonder
about that timeline that connects
George Krabill to young Adolf.
It's quite simple.
 
Back in December 2009
I started this blog TempoSenzaTempo
and my very first story,
aptly titled The first post,

was about the photograph of Adolf Ådel.

.
This new post of May 2018 marks
number 400 of the musician stories
that I have written for this blog.

In 2009 I began with a picture of a horn player
because that is my instrument too,
so to mark this milestone
I thought splicing Adolf and George together
would make nice connection for my blog's long timeline.





In 1896 Adolf Ådel had his carte de visite photograph taken by S. Petterson of Söderhamn, a town  in the east central province of Hälsingland, Sweden. He was a Waldhornist with the Musikkorps of the Hälsingland Regiment. His instrument is a single horn in F with piston valves. As luck would have it, this week I may have discovered a bit more about his identity and I will soon update his story. 

Look at his photo and you see a boy, about age 15, proudly contemplating a future life as a military bandsman. A half century later on the other side of the world, a 60 year old hornist named George E. Krabill posed for a camera reflecting back on a life in band music.

In many ways music ties both men together,
and connects me to them too.











Every week I continue to be inspired by the variety of thematic images that Alan Burnett and Marilyn Brindley choose for Sepia Saturday. It's a challenging game to find a musical photo match but its a sport I always enjoy playing. (And I readily admit that this photo story is completely off-key for this weekend.)  But it is the enthusiasm of our little fellowship of bloggers for old photographs and good story telling that really motivates me to find new stories to tell. Thank you for reading this one.

It's about time.
A time without time,
Tempo Senza Tempo







I can't resist adding some music to finish,
but unfortunately George Krabill's music
never sold many copies
and none of his marches
have made it to YouTube.
 

But the music of his friend Karl King from the Thayer Band did,
and he may have as many recordings as John Philip Sousa.
Here's one called the Imperial March from 1911
which I'm certain George knew and admired.
This march is played by the Symphonic Band
of George Washington Middle School
of Lorton, Virginia from a 2013 band contest.


I like their uniforms.

* * *


* * *





This is my contribution to Sepia Saturday
where everyone is wading in the water.

http://sepiasaturday.blogspot.com/2018/05/sepia-saturday-417.html


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