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 Bandsman from Harrisburg, PA

14 October 2010

This photo postcard of a bandsman has no date, no identification, and no clues in the image. But it shows a trombonist dressed in one of the fanciest uniforms I've found in my collecting.

He wears a tall shako complete with medallion, sash, and two color plume. The jacket includes cords, embroidered sleeves, and a cape in contrasting color. The trousers are equestrian style jodhpurs with a side stripe of course. His boots are actually shoes but are covered by a kind of full length spat with tassels. And his music is carried in a matching side pouch. Nothing seems left out. If only we could see the color. I'd guess a dark green, with maybe a lemon fawn cape.


This might have been another dead-end mystery photo, until I chanced upon something that answered the where and when questions.

NOW this is a Band!  (click on the photo for full impact).

The Municipal Band of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania pose on Sunday, April 29, 1917 outside a civic building for their formal band photograph. The photographer is Gerhardt Studios and they printed this giant photo over 18 inches wide. The young trombonist, minus his wire-rim spectacles, is standing I believe on the back row, center right, just next to the tuba.  Unfortunately my usual online source of archives produced no names to go with this group. Perhaps later.

On April 2, 1917 President Woodrow Wilson asked Congress for a declaration of war against Germany. How many of these young men would trade their splendid uniforms for a more practical one and serve in the U.S. army bands of WWI ?


DrSchalow said...

Mike, I think you may be right about the ID of this trombonist. I am looking at the fine structure of the hands and see the greatest similarity there, although the face looks more astonished - no glasses can be unsettling. Fine work here! Best to you! Philip Schalow

Anonymous said...

They're dressed in the style of hussars, naturally.


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