It’s easier to show and tell, instead of just tell, so here goes:
Item No. 1: a 1928 photo of the Lincoln Junior High School girls’ band of Minneapolis
|Lincoln Junior High School Girls’ Band; credit Norton & Peel Commercial Photography, Minneapolis|
This raises some questions for me, including: When did Minnesota start holding school band contests? School band programs were still pretty new in 1927 – that’s one of the years that G. Oliver worked for C. G. Conn, helping organize school bands in Minnesota and other states. Other questions: Did the school also have a boys’ band? How many bands competed? How did the Lincoln girls do? Did they go to nationals? If not, which band or bands did?
Also, I can’t help but wonder – did the French horn player in the center of the front row feel bad that she wore the wrong color of pantyhose? It makes me think of Louisa’s first band concert in middle school, when she showed up wearing the wrong color of shirt. As I recall, she decided it was my fault for not knowing the appropriate dress code. It did make it easier to spot her among the other French horn players, though!
Item No. 2: a 1938 photo of an unnamed, non-Native American band marching in a parade wearing headdresses and fringed costumes
|Costumed band performing in St. Paul, September 1938; credit Acme News Pictures, New York City|
The parade took place seven years before G. Oliver organized the first band at Red Lake High School, on the Red Lake reservation, made up of both Ojibwe and white boys and girls. So far, I’ve not been able to locate any photos of that band. I’m not sure one was ever taken. But who knows – maybe eBay will come through for me.
Item No. 3: a 1924 program from the State Association of County Attorneys luncheon at the State Reformatory in St. Cloud
|Page 3 of the program, which lists the songs played by the prison band and orchestra|
Music was provided by the reformatory band and orchestra, directed by Francis Gonnella. I had read somewhere that Gonnella formed the prison band in 1924, but he must have formed it earlier than that, going by the date of this ambitious concert program.
Like most of the band-related things I find online, these items will inspire me to do further research. And that’s a mostly good thing — although there are days when I wish I could buy all the answers on eBay.