|The 75-member Bemidji Boys’ Band in 1922.|
By March of 1919, G. Oliver had recruited 111 boys to the band and had begun instruction. Three years later, the Bemidji Boys’ Band was invited to perform at the Minnesota State Fair.
The 75-member band piled into several vehicles and left Bemidji on Friday, Sept. 1, at 4:30 a.m. The all-day drive included a 9 a.m. stop in Pine River for milk, and a 1:30 p.m. chicken dinner at St. Albans on Mille Lacs Lake. After sleeping in tents at the fairgrounds, the band members awoke early the next morning and went to Minneapolis, where they paraded in the streets of the business district and serenaded newspaper and government offices. That afternoon, they did the same thing in St. Paul.
|An article and photo of the band in the Sept. 2, 1922 issue of the Minneapolis Journal.|
|An article from the Sept. 3, 1922 issue of the Minneapolis Sunday Tribune.|
|The program for the Minnehaha Park concert, printed in the Minneapolis Daily Star.|
This is how the Bemidji Daily Pioneer described the Sept. 8 performance: “The act went over big. The boys were applauded from the minute they appeared in view of the grandstand until they were again out of sight. The announcement made by Mr. Snyder received a tremendous ovation, as did the first number played by the boys. An encore just had to be played before the crowd would let the boys leave the front of the grandstand.”
(An interesting side note: the amplifier was donated for the Fair’s use by Northwestern Bell. Vice President Calvin Coolidge used it earlier in the week for an address that apparently left fairgoers unimpressed. According to a story in the Minneapolis Daily Star, the audience became restless 40 minutes into the speech and started walking out, causing Coolidge to skip to the end. The 98-degree heat was cited as the most common explanation for crowd’s behavior. I wonder how long Coolidge would have spoken if the audience had remained quiet?!)
|A photo of the Bemidji Boys’ Band in front of the bandstand, with the grandstand in the background.|
As I read old newspaper articles Sunday afternoon about the trip, the words “Chase Hotel” jumped out at me because a few hours earlier I’d read a travel article in the Star Tribune about Walker that mentions the hotel. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is now known as Chase on the Lake.
I ate at the hotel’s restaurant a few years ago, on a trip up north with friends, and enjoyed the view of Leech Lake. I didn’t realize until writing this post that that by stopping to eat there, I’d once again unwittingly followed the trail of my great-grandfather.
Now I suppose I should travel to Pine River for some milk, and catch a concert at Minnehaha Park. Good thing I don’t have to worry about running into Coolidge.