History of Brass Bands 
Bands Directory   |   Events   |   Products & Services   |   People   |   Organisations   |   Reference   |   About IBEW   |   Contact

Snippets of Information about Brass Bands

  • See also Snippets from the "Musical Times"

    Black Dyke Band - 1925 Recording
    [extract from publicity brochure for Edison Bell Winner Records] - Crystal Palace Testpiece: Winners First - As Usual - The Crystal Palace Brass Band Championship has once again been decided. This year the Testpiece was an intricate composition by Denis Wright, entitled "Joan of Arc". With their accustomed foresight the House of Edison Bell have lost no time in recording the work, engaging the Black Dyke Mills Band to play the test-piece on the day following the Palace contest [Saturday, September 26, 1925]. The famous Yorkshire band for this purpose attended the recording studio at Peckham on Sunday 27th ult. and succeeded in giving a masterly rendition of the number. Samples have already been despatched to the trader, and by the time these words appear in print supplies of "Joan of Arc" will be available to the public. No lover of brass band music should be without this Winner - No. 4289. Another scoop for Edison Bell.

    Irwell Springs Band
    Old Clough Mill, operated by the Munn brothers from 1824 to 1833, was later taken over by the Irwell Springs Dyeing Company. When Bacup Old Band successfully competed at Belle Vue in 1864, their supporters included six enthusiasts from Weir, who on the way home decided to also form a band. The result was the Irwell Springs Band (motto: 'Instat Omnium') who entered the annual contests at Belle Vue, Manchester, in 1893, and in 1901 made their first appearance at Crystal Palace. They eventually won in 1905, repeating their success in 1908 and 1913. They were the first (and only) band to qualify for gold medals as the winners of the Crystal Palace 1,000 Guineas Challenge Trophy on three separate occasions. On four other occasions (1901, 1910, 1912, and 1925) they were runners-up. They also played 'by Royal Command' before George V in March 1914, 1921 and 1927, on each occasion at Knowsley Hall, residence of Lord Derby. They broadcast from London (August 1926) and accompanied the community singing at the only Rugby League international match ever staged at Broughton (April 1927). On all three championship occasions, the bandmaster was Walter Nuttall, who for 21 years led the band (1893-1914), later becoming Mayor of Bacup (1928-30), and a Freeman of the Borough in January 1945. When the band went out of existence in August 1960, he was the oldest surviving member.

    Hardraw Scaur Contest
    From Mr E. Blythe, who is Secretary to the Musical Contests at Hardraw Scaur, I learned many important facts relating to the history of this movement. He told me that since the War [1914-18] these events have lost much of their former prestige, do partly to the fact that the railway companies have not been sufficiently elastic in the matter of affording facilities for attendance, which might make these occasions the "bumper" successes of years gone by. He further informed me that where now the audience at Hardraw Scaur numbers 3,000, it attained, in the more palmy days, to 30,000. What a sight it must have been, to see the huge amphitheatre with its background of rock for the contestants - crowded from end to end and from side to side; and this for a musical tournament. Here amid wild and striking scenery some of the finest bodies of instrumentalists and choral societies have fought for supremacy. Here, bands now long defunct, have been victors; as an example of which I may refer to the results of 1888, when the adjudicators' decisions included, Leeds Forge, 1st, Black Dyke, 2nd. Where's Leeds Forge Band today? These ancient musical jousts truly rivalled those now held at the Crystal Palace, London, and are often referred to with wild enthusiasm; for instance, when I visited Richmond a day or two later, a man in the street spoke of the way Suppé's "Poet and Peasant" overture was played at Hardraw Scaur many years previously by the famous Black Dyke Band, and how time had never effaced the impression from his mind. It is to be hoped that the promoters of this powerful musical influence will not rest until the "Battle of the Bands", in its romantic venue in North Yorkshire, again holds up its head in the same category as the "Battle of the Roses" in the cricketing annals of the present time.
    (Source: A Musical Pilgrimage in Yorkshire]

    Hardraw Scaur Contest (2)
    A Grand Brass Band and Choral Contest will be held in the beautiful Grounds at Hardraw Scaur (by kind permission of the Right Hon., the Earl of Wharncliffe), on Saturday June 26, 1886, when Prizes Amounting to about £80 in Cash will be offered for competition, as follows: £48. 3s. for Brass Bands; £31. 10s. for Choral Societies. The principal bands and choral societies in the North of England. The Grounds are beautifully laid out, and contain a waterfall 100ft. high, several other waterfalls, and about two miles of walks. Excursion trains from Leeds, Bradford, Colne, Manchester, Burnley, Carlisle, Saltburn, the Hartlepools, Middlesborough, Stockton, Darlington, Northallerton, Harrogate &c. For particulars, see companies' bills. (Geo. Broderick, Secretary)
    (Source: advertisement, Manchester Guardian, 12th June 1886]

    Patriotic Concert - Great Demonstration at the Royal Albert Hall
    Click to view larger version This unique event, organised on behalf of the "Daily Mail" Kipling Poem Fund, took place last night at the Albert Hall. In all the vast building there was scarcely a vacant seat. Part I commenced with the singing of the grand old hymn, "Onward Christian Soldiers" by Mdme. Bertha Rossow, Sir Arthur Sullivan conducting, and the massed bands, drums, grand organ, and audience joining in the refrain. The effect was absolutely startling in its grandeur. This was followed by a selection from "Moses in Egypt" by the St Albans City Band. The Ariel-Griffin Band gave a selection entitled "Beauties of England" consisting of some of our best known patriotic songs, and their rendering was loudly applauded. Then followed "Hearts of Oak" by Mr Andrew Black, who was in splendid voice. Selections from Mendelssohn were sweetly played by the Hucknall Temperance Band. Miss Clara Butt sang in her most brilliant style, "There's a Land", including the additional verse by Miss Agnes Sibly, beginning "There's a Queen, a dear Queen". She was recalled again and again. After the Wyke Temperance Brass Band had given the overture "William Tell", Mr Edward Lloyd sang "The Minstrel Boy" in a manner which showed not the slightest falling off from his best form. Besses o' th' Barn Brass Band gave selections from "Oberon" and then Madame Albani, who was greeted with tremendous applause, rendered "Non mi Dir". Part I was brought to a close by a grand massing of the bands and drums which played "The Absent Minded Beggar" March by Sir Arthur Sullivan, the composer himself conducting. It was a never-to-be-forgotten performance. A long and varied programme was then performed in part II, including "March of the Men of Harlech", by the London Kymrie Ladies Choir. Mr Andrew Black and Miss Clara Butt also sang again, Mr Edward Lloyd gave "The Death of Nelson", Mdme. Albani sang "The Blue Bells of Scotland"; and the concert concluded, amid the greatest enthusiasm, by the National Anthem, sung by Mdme. Albani and Miss Clara Butt, with massed band, drums and grand organ, conducted by Sir Arthur Sullivan.
    (Source: News of the World, 21st January 1900]

    Battle of the Bands
    Crowds of people from all parts of the country visited the Crystal Palace on Saturday on the occasion of the sixth great national band festival - which includes the great champion contest for a 1,000 guineas challenge trophy - was initiated by the late Sir Arthur Sullivan, and its popularity is proved by the fact that over 3,000 performers engaged in Saturday's performances. Not more than four or five years ago the great majority of Londoners were practically unaware that in the north of England and the Midlands there were scores of brass bands, every member of which , though a hard-handed son of toil, is capable of rendering the compositions of the great masters with at least a very considerable degree of effect, and in some cases with a precision and a musical spirit which can only be regarded as wonderful. But, in this particular matter, London has recently been educated, and another lesson is about to be given.
    The Yorkshiremand and the Lancashireman are alike in several respects, and, among other things, they are passionate lovers of sport and music. Great as they delight in a football match or a horse-race, they enjoy a band "mekkin' musick" quite as much, for a big contest attracts fully as many thousands of people as a Cup-tie which is regarded as a matter of almost national importance. It is the ambition of every band to win a prize, and, when it is successful it is so proud of its accomplishment that in all probability it calls itself "Prize Band" ever afterwards. And no band can complain that it is not given ample opportunity of thus distinguishing itself, for about two hundred and fifty contests are held in the course of a year. The prizes offered are generally worth winning, and in some cases are very valuable indeed, but the latter, as a rule, fall to one or another of four or five bands which are now famous throughout the country, such, for instance, as the Besses o' th' Barn, the Black Dyke, of Bradford, which has won £11,500 in prizes, and the Wyke Temperance, which has profited to the extent of about £8,000.
    (Source: Penny Illustrated Paper, 7th October 1905]

    Mountain Ash Eisteddford
    The annual Eisteddford at Mountain Ash, in aid of the local Cottage Hospital, was attended by about twelve thousand people. Early yesterday morning the pavilion was partly blown down, but by dint of great effort the big tent was got sufficiently into position again to permit the competitions taking place there in the afternoon. Meanwhile some of the lesser contests were held at the Public Hall. ............... In the Brass Band contest for the best rendering of "Songs of the Sea", the first prize of £100 was awarded to Aberaman Silver Band, the second to Abertilley, and the third to Treharris. "The Undertone of the Bells" was the best in the junior choir competition........
    (Source: Daily News, 17th April 1900]
    The proceedings were continued at Mountain Ash yesterday ..... and the prizes in the chief brass band competition went to 1. Arael Griffin, 2. Tillery Collieries, 3. Aberdare, and 4. Burryport. ....... Each eisteddford was attended by thousands of people and the principal competitions were regarded with great interest.
    (Source: Daily News, 18th April 1900]

    Grand Exposition of 1851
    To the Nobility, Gentry, and Proprietors of Public Places of Amusement, Excursionists, Societies, Floral Fetes, Fancy Fairs, &c.
    W.T. Chattaway (late leader and Musical Director of Cremorne and Vauxhall Gardens), respectfully announces that his unrivalled uniform brass band, who perform the most modern music of the day, and who also form a complete Quadrille Band, can be engaged, in any numbers, on application to Messrs. Lewis and Johnson, Music-sellers, 50, Cheapside, near the Bank, London.
    (Source: Weekly Dispatch, 9th March 1851]

    Sea Biscuit
    The film 'Sea Biscuit' relates the story of a famous race in America between two horses. As they pass the finishing post the sound of a brass band is heard and a quick flash shows what looks like from their uniforms a circus band but it is in fact a group of Savationist musicians from Los Angeles playing Joy, there is Joy in the Salvation Army! Apparently the film's director wanted to include this music but that the S.A. wouldn't allow their musicians to appear in S.A. uniform. The tune was chosen because it is lively.
    (Source: Terry Hazell]

    Winfield Cornet Band, Kansas, USA
    The Winfield Cornet Band is about to become a thing of the past. The boys are "blue," so to speak. They have worked hard and faithfully to make a band that would be a credit to the town as well as to the individual members thereof. The leader, Mr. Crippen, has spent time and money in instructing the players and furnishing new music, and the members have often quit their business to play for Sunday School picnics, fourth of July celebrations, etc., without receiving any recompense whatever. This was all very nice, but it takes money to keep up a band, and when the boys came to raise a little cash to meet their current expenses, it came so slow and was given so stingily, they concluded that the citizens didn't care about having a band, and unanimously resolved to quit, until they received some more substantial evidence that their efforts were appreciated.
    (Source: The Winfield Courier, September 18, 1879]

    Friendship Cornet Band, New York, USA
    Blow Brothers, Blow! It is with much satisfaction that we announce the fact that a cornet band has been organized and the musicians are diligently practicing. "Will" Kingsbury is the leader and "Ed" Hamilton is to assist him in his arduous duties.  The instruments have been apportioned as follows: Howard Ingersoll, Piccolo; Joe Maddock, E flat cornet; W. Kingsbury, B flat cornet; E. Hamilton, B flat cornet ; J. J. Demuth, alto, treasurer; F. Hleme, tenor; C. Helme, trombone, secretary; J. S. Moll, baritone; S. Latta, tuba; C. Willard, snare drum; W. Worden, bass drum. With such excellent musical material and a little practice we do not doubt that the friendship Cornet Band will in short time prove the equal of any in the county. It will be strengthened by the addition of a few more instruments as soon as practicable.  We certainly wish the boys plenty of harmony, a continual "good time."  Let their "be natural," not be too "sharp" and their efforts will not fall flat or out of tune in the good wishes of the public.
    (Source: The Friendship Chronicle, Vol. 1, No. 3, May 19, 1880]

    Barnoldswick Contest
    A Brass Band contest was held in a field adjoining the Unity School , Barnoldswick, on Saturday. Ten bands had entered, viz. Colne (conductor, J. Gladney), Earby (J. Gladney), Littleborough Public (E. Swift), Great Horton (G.F. Birkenshaw), Manningham (W. Atkinson), Nelson (A. Owen), Keighley Mariners, Todmorden Old (E. Swift), Southport, and Wyke Temperance (Hugh Whitham). £43 was offerd in prizes. Only the following six bands put in an appearance, and they played in this order: Colne, No.1, Earby, No.2, Todmorden, No.3, Littleborough, No.4, Great Horton, No.5, Nelson, No.6. The test piece was a selection from Wagner's "Tannhauser". Mr R. Marsden, professor of music, the judge, awarded the first prize, value £15, to No.1 band; the second prize, £11, to Littleborough; the third, £8, Todmorden; fourth, £4, Earby, fifth, £2, Great Horton. In a quickstep contest the first prize, £2, was given to Tormorden Old, and the second, £1, to Colne. There were about 2,000 persons on the field.
    (Source: The Manchester Guardian, 7th June 1886]

    St Arnaud Bands, Victoria, Australia
    Around the turn of the century St Arnaud had two brass bands - The Lord Nelson Miners Band and Hellings Model Band. There was great rivalry between them and one evening at a function at the Town Hall they were playing together either side of the main entrance. When the tune came to its end neither band wanted to be the first to stop so they kept on playing the same tune over and over into the early hours of the morning. The crowd went home to bed, but the bands played on. Eventually when the players were close to exhaustion they were persuaded to stop together on a given signal. In October 1900 the Lord Nelson Miners Band became the champions of Australia, when they won the first South Street Competitions held at Ballarat. They were the first performers with a selection from Rossini arranged by Mr. A. Owen. On the following day they were the last performers with the selection "Nabucodonsor" (Verdi) arranged by Mr E. Bulch. The Band members were all men from the Lord Nelson Mine, except for one, who was the milkman.

    Salvation Army Disturbances
    On Saturday, at Chatham, a grand field day, organised by the Salvation Army, and comprising what was termed "an attack on Chatham", was held. Contingents of the army, numbering several hundreds, arrived in the town, headed by six brass bands, and soon after nightfall, as one of the bands was proceeding along High-street, a horse attached to a waggonette containing a number of ladies shied and bolted, running over a child. The spectators thereupon attacked the band, and the police, in their endeavour to protect the Salvationists, were badly treated.
    (Source: Weekly Dispatch, 2nd May 1886]

    St Hilda Colliery Band
    The St Hilda Colliery was situated at South Shields, an industrial town on the North-East coast. In 1869 a group of workers, mostly members of the colliery, approached a Mr John Dennison to form a brass band. None of them could play an instrument, the first rehearsal was led by the conductor's ten year old son. They attended a local contest five years later and when unplaced, such was their determination that they issued a private challenge to the winning band, appointing an adjudicator and referee at their own expense. They proved themselves the winners. Due to a change of sponsorship they had been known as "Dennison's Family Band", Dennison's Borough Band", and "South Shields Borough Band". In 1906 they were taken over by the officials and men of the Durham Miners' Association and became recognised as the St Hilda Colliery Band. In the same year Mr J.A. Greenwood, a popular band trainer, became their professional conductor, and five years later Mr James Oliver was appointed bandmaster, having attained success in the north east with the Heworth and Felling Colliery Bands. It was partly due to the hard work of Mr Oliver and Mr Southern, their band secretary and bass trombone player, that the band achieved such rapid progress. In 1912 Mr Halliwell, a prominent band trainer, took over as professional conductor and established himself by leading them into first place at the National Championship, a success which was repeated in 1920, 1921, 1924 and 1926.
    They recorded for almost every record company, often a mere repetition of items, but apart from their test pieces the output was somewhat unimaginative. They seemed to favour the lesser known marches, especially those of J. Ord Hume, and such trivialities as "Three Blind Mice", Pop Goes the Weasel" and "Dinah's Holiday". Among their more serious items we find the "Ballet Egyptien Suite" and Liszt's second "Hungarian Rhapsody", arrangements which require the tone colour and definition of the military band to be effective. "Cleadon Park" written by their first professional conductor, J.A. Greenwood, was recorded on Marathon 138, Cleadon being an attractive village near South Shields. "St Hilda" written by another band trainer of that period, Mr George Hawkins under the pen-name of "Raymond", (Zonophone 2182 and HMV B1554) and "Sergeant Major" by James Oliver (Zonophone 2581). Their cornet soloist during the early years was Arthur Laycock, although somewhat of an eccentric he was one of the greatest cornet players of all time. His artistry can be heard on Columbia and Zonophone recordings. Other players who recorded were Harold Laycock and E. Boam, trombonists, which both Jack Mackintosh and Harry Mortimer were at one time members of the solo cornet section.
    By 1926 the band was at the height of its success. Winners of five Nationals, full summer bookings and their winter engagements included Bertram Mills' Circus at the Olympia, London. The St Hilda colliery had closed however in 1925, hence the players were classed as professional musicians and no longer eligible to contest. In 1927 they turned professional , many, unwilling to make music their livelihood, left, but with the untiring efforts of Messrs Oliver and Southern a competent band was soon "on the road". James Oliver continued as musical director, assisted by Hubert Bath and later Frank Wright. They were however unable to regain their former glory. Summer engagements declined and during the winter season they were billed at music halls and for stage interludes at the cinema. In later years they tended to use the title "St Hilda's Famous Band", but in 1937 were forced to disband. Their final engagement was at the Stanhope Show. In the mid-thirties Mr Oliver bought a house at Brancepeth, Co. Durham, near his home town Haswell, when he was looking forward to taking over the colliery band. He had been conductor of St Hilda's for twenty-two years. James Southern left banding and retired to Cheshire.
    The name St Hilda, however, still survived. in 1930 a St Hilda Colliery Band was formed in 1930, achieving success at several local contests, but was disbanded 1940. Four years later a group of businessmen bought the name, but their band was taken over in 1951 by the Yorkshire Electric and Welding Company (Y.E.W.C.O.). It showed promise by gaining fifth place in the Championship section at Belle Vue in 1955, but owing to declining interest it too was disbanded.
    Although J. Ord Hume at one contest complimented St Hilda's on their fine playing, which he stated, was equal to anything he had heard in his whole experience of banding, we have but limited knowledge of their performance. We have to rely on the gramaphone record and the brass band does not record well. The musical material, too, is often inadequate, marches, novelty items and poor arrangements fail to aid judgement. The writer recalls hearing St Hilda's just before their Canadian tour and was impressed by their highly polished instruments, immaculate uniforms and ease of playing, although, he hastens to add, too young to comment on their performance. They did not succeed in gaining the coveted "hat trick" (three consecutive firsts) at the Nationals. In 1913 they were placed second, fourth in 1922/3, fifth in 1925 when the winners were Marsden, a colliery only a few miles along the coast from South Shields. St Hilda's name appears infrequently at Belle Vue, second in 1912, sixth 1913, third in 1919 and 1926.
    During the past few decades bands have tended to change their name, many seem anxious to sever links with the past, but the name St Hilda's is firmly established in brass band history. A name which not only recalls a great band, but an era when our summer seasons were filled with the sound of open air music instead of noise and pollution.
    (by Alan Hindmarch]

    Aledo Ladies Cornet Band, by L. Boyd Finch
    "River City's gotta have a boys' band!" proclaims audacious Professor Harold Hill in Meredith Willson's The Music Man, the musical recreation of small-town life in Iowa at the turn of the last century. But twenty years earlier across the Mississippi in Aledo, Illinois, "Prof." E.D. Wood brought forth his idea: to have an all-girls' band. And so it came to pass, and my grandmother and great-aunt played in it. In one of the boxes of family papers we have lugged around the nation through our several household moves are possible the remaining traces of the Aledo Ladies Cornet Band: "The Ladies Cornet Band March" sheet music, copyright 1885 by E.D. Wood and illustrated with a sketch of sixteen-piece uniformed female band with a male instructor standing at the side; a cabinet card photo of a band member in uniform; and grandmother's autograph book containing the signatures of most of the musicians. Also, we have memorabilia of another female group, Kate Baker's Ladies Silver Cornet Band, for which Grandma and Aunt Bertha later played and traveled with in Missouri.
    Prof. Harold Hill promoted his band as the answer to keeping local boys out of trouble (the pool hall), but in those days a town band filled a purpose beyond that of heading off juvenile delinquency. A brass band came to be considered essential to the life of a town, showing that it was a live-wire, up-to-date community. And the band provided light entertainment before the advent of the phonograph, radio, movies, and television. Consider the appeal of the Aledo newspaper in May 1900 (long after the demise of the ladies' band): "Aledo needs a band. She needs not only a band, but a good one. There is not one single feature which would add more to the attractiveness of our city than a good band."
    In the mid-1800s, an average town band "might number twelve to fourteen players," (larger after the turn of the century), and "the membership of such bands tended to be all-white and all-male," according to a research bulletin of the Kansas State Historical Society, which undoubtedly reflects the Illinois experience as well. "Brass instruments plated with nickel or silver were very popular, giving rise to the many groups known as 'silver cornet' bands." The repertoire "relied heavily on music that the audience found fun and familiar- popular songs, marches, and patriotic pieces."
    "Prof." Wood, who had come from Iowa to open a music store in Aledo, advertised his Conservatory of Music ($4 per week with board and use of instruments) in May 1882. He had a novel idea: an all-female ensemble. A year later his band was ready to perform in public. That summer the Aledo Democrat announced that the ladies' band would sponsor an ice cream festival at McCrea's Hall, admission ten cents. The newspaper editor reported: "The Young Ladies' Brass Band has given Aledo a good deal of free music within the last week, in the course of its practice for the 4 of July engagement. Improvement is quite visible, and this open air traveling practice will no doubt strengthen the lung capacity, so much needed in that class of music." A week later the band made the first of several out-of-town appearances, boarding a river packet for a journey down the Mississippi to play concerts in Burlington, Fort Madison, and Keokuk, Iowa.
    Wood composed "The Ladies Cornet Band March" in 1885. The cover announced, "Beautifully Arranged for Organ or Piano by Prof. E.D. Wood, Director and Manager of the celebrated ALEDO LADIES CORNET BAND, The only complete ladies cornet band in the world." Of course, the band members were uniformed. The cover illustration and a cabinet card photograph of one musician depict the suitably feminine attire, with a few military touches: a closely fitted, long-sleeved blouse with small epaulettes and three vertical rows of buttons, a full pleated skirt with a ruffled hem-all topped with a wide-brimmed straw boater. Membership in the band was the start of venturesome two years for the girls - and they were girls. My future grandmother, Lenore Boyd, was sixteen, and her sister, Bertha, was thirteen. The messages in Lenore's autograph book suggest that most of the musicians were or had been recent schoolmates. Lenore's instrument was the valve trombone. Bertha played drums. They were the middle and youngest daughters of Martin and Lydia Bear Boyd. Martin was a well-to-do farmer who moved to the county seat, Aledo, built a large residence, and served a term in the state legislature. Lenore and Bertha attended the Aledo Academy and, for an uncertain length of time, the Immaculate Conception Academy in Davenport, Iowa, a sort of finishing school for those families who could afford it.
    Through the summer and fall of 1883 and 1884, the Aledo newspaper reported the Ladies' Cornet Band's continuing engagements, which included another ice cream festival, a skating rink concert, a Decorations Day parade, the "Old Settlers Pic Nic," the Mercer County Fair, political rallies, and "Jollifications." The musicians were busy, traveling by riverboat and palace car. In addition to concerts in nearby towns, their engagements took them as far north as Hillsdale on the Rock River and as far south as Astoria in Fulton County. Lenore's autograph book records brief notes by twelve of the musicians and the "L.C.B.," with references to pleasant memories such as the "boat rides" at Burlington. "We can never forget the 'Band' in which we sixteen played," noted another player. Two writers, including sister Bertha, mentioned one not-so-pleasant experience on "that Hillsdale hill."
    But the jolly times were over too soon. After November 1884, news stories about the Ladies Cornet Band ceased to appear; the band was no more. The following June, Aledo's newspaper reported that some members of the band were "assisting" another band in the town of Joy, seven miles west. "Prof." Wood was the instructor. In September of the following year, however, Wood died unexpectedly at the age of fifty-two. In a heart-felt obituary, the editor of the Democrat recalled: "He [Wood] loved music dearly and was never more happy than when he was teaching others. He often talked to the writer of these notes of his desire to see the day when the youth of Aledo might be aroused to a right appreciation of it."
    While I have little memory of my grandmother (she died when I was seven), Aunt Bertha lived much longer. But I never thought of them as musicians. I regret that I never asked about their youthful adventures, which I'm certain they had. In 1888 they joined the band of Kate Baker of LeClede, Missouri, "the only female band in America with a lady drum major" (but which did have two male musicians). That group accompanied a root, herb, and bark medicine show operator, Dr. Diamond Dick (a.k.a. George B. McClellan, but no the Civil War general), in a four-month campaign through Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas promoting his remedies under the banner of "Indian Methods Alone!"