Boy Scout Bands

Boy Scout bands were very popular in the first thirty years of Scouting.  Scouts in full uniform, marching and playing their instruments, were a stirring sight to see and hear, even if they were not always in tune!

A Band in San Angelo

The San Angelo Kiwanis Club on May 30, 1922, suggested to a newly appointed Scout committee that a Boy Scout Band be organized.  The committee met that evening and appointed R. H. Compton and F. L. Traenkle to further investigate the matter.

They noted that a director would be needed who would have to be paid and someone would have to provide the money because the Council had no money at all.  The Kiwanis Club agreed to sponsor the band and provide the money. 

Band in 1922 in San AngeloDuring summer camp at Camp Vista Concho in late August, the proposition of having a band was submitted to the boys in camp and a large number of boys signified their desire to enlist as musicians.  Mr. G. A. Hartman, who was director of the San Angelo Concert Band at the time, was hired to direct the band and the first meeting of the Scouts was held at the American Legion Opera House in San Angelo on Tuesday Evening, September 5, 1922, to organize the group. 

At that meeting, twenty-two youths signified interest in joining the band.  Only about four of the Scouts had any musical training.  Mr. Hartman had previous experience in directing the Bronte Band and within seven months he had that group playing overtures and other "heavy" numbers, so he thought this group could make its first appearance after several months of instruction.  By October 24, 1922, twenty-five boys were practicing regularly, fifteen of whom were classed as good musicians.  The band then consisted of the following: 

    Clarinets - Forster Rust, Ralph Hickman
    Saxophones - Celley Birt, Joel Brown
    Cornets - Army Rust, Wilbur Yancy, Arthur Belling, Vaughn Wood, Cecil Elliot, Wyley Shrum
    Altos - Raymond Harris, Jack Jones, Clarence Alberts
    Trombones - Erwin Lyon, Earl Stovall, Lee Jones, Harold Cornelison, Lyn Bennett, Berton Houston
    Baritone - Albert Hartman
    Basses - Herbert Hartman, J. P. Jett, Reece Albert
    Base Drum - James Freeman
    Snare Drums - B. Abernathy, Bert Week
The first public appearance of the band was made during the Kiwanis Club's Ladies' night on November 17, 1922.  The thirty boys, now in the band, played several pieces in the lobby of the St. Angelus hotel prior to dinner and one piece following dinner.  Thirty-six boys were active in the band by December 1, 1922, when they made their first public appearance on the streets of San Angelo. They marched up Concho Ave. to the Landon, thence north on Chadbourne to Beauregard and west to the St. Angelus Hotel and returned by the same route.  They stopped at four of the principal corners of the business district and played "Our Beginners March," a waltz "Soft Music is Stealing," and overtures "Nicturo", "Our Leader," and "America."

The Boy Scout Band provided the music at a Scout Week program held at the First Baptist Church in 1923.  There were 130 boys in Scouting in San Angelo at the time with many of them in the band.  By March 14, 1923, the band was at full strength with fifty members.  By now the draggy playing, jerky time and weakness in solo and section parts were disappearing from the band.  They could play about fifteen selections including such marches as "Under Arms", "National Guard" and "Our Leader" as well as a serenade "Stilly Night." 

During the summer of 1923, starting on Thursday evening, June 21, 1923, 8 o'clock, the band played concerts on the Court House lawn.  The band spent two days in Sonora the first part of July furnishing music for Sonora's four-day Fourth of July celebration.  Forty-two youth made the trip with Hartman.  Mayor W. E. Caldwell of Sonora said "Especially did we appreciate the San Angelo Boy Scout Band.  It rendered excellent music which was enjoyed by everyone and contributed largely towards creating a spirit in keeping with the event." 

This was the last time we found a story about the band in THE SAN ANGELO DAILY STANDARD.  We do know, from talking with former band members, that most of the boys later helped organize the DeMolay Band and played for may Scout activities in the late '20s and early '30s. 

Boy Scout Band at Ozona

Several publications published over the years on the history of Ozona made mention of a Boy Scout Band in Ozona in 1926 and 1927.  A story in the Crockett County Golden Anniversary Historical Edition of 1941 stated "The first band in Ozona was organized by Mrs. "Red" Smith in November 1926.  It was organized as a Boy Scout Band comprising school students and made it first public appearance in the town park on July 4, 1927, during the rodeo.  The band was sponsored by the P.T.A. as a school band in 1927-1928. 

"Members were Eugene Montgomery, P. C. Coats, Peas Childress, Tot Grimer, Clifton Monteith, Bill Friend, Slick Miller, Bert Kincaid, Jr., Batts Friend, John Kirkpatrick, Billy Baggett, James Baggett, Cam Longley, Billy Childress, Marvin Graves, B. B. Ingham, Bud Coates, Woodrow Wilson, Massie Ray Smith, Joe Billy Keaton, Miller Robinson, Lee Dudley and Roger Dudley."

We do not know how many of these band members were Scouts but we suspect most of them were being as it was a Boy Scout Band.  Apparently the band only lasted a year as a Boy Scout Band.

The famous Iraan Cowboy Band

A Boy Scout band was organized in Iraan, Texas in the May of 1934, under the leadership of E. O. Moore, who served as Scoutmaster of Troop 49.  Charles Baldwin, who played trumpet, directed the band and Mack Greenhow, saxophonist, was the announcer.  Vern Brownlee served as second Scoutmaster

The band came to Camp Louis Farr on June 10, 1934, as a Troop.  While they were at camp they made appearances before the Lions Club in Mertzon, over radio station KGLL, and marched on the streets of Mertzon.   First members of this band were: 

    Trumpets --  Wilson Lauderdale, Lewis Blackburn, Orville Fraker, Arthur Barasso, David Morrison, R. C. Calk
    Clarinets -- Udel Copeland, Layton Johnson, Ed Earl Heberson, and Jack Baker
    Saxophone -- Mack Greenhow, Atlas Charles
    Bass Drum -- Robert Ivy
    Trap Drums -- Harry Glendenning, Norman Montgomery
    Bass Horns -- Robert Patterson, Charles Halcomb
    French Horns -- Jimmie Rigsbee, Ted Simon
    Altos -- Raymond Warner, James Cooney, Billy Joe Greenhow
    Trombones -- Claude Webb, Pat Moore 
The band was selected as the official band for the 16th district of the American Legion, and made a trip to Marfa to participate in their convention from November 16-18, 1934.  Jacques Nonce, high school band instructor, was in charge of the band during this trip.  The citizens of Marfa made arrangements to entertain the members of the band, and their trip was paid for by the American Legion.

On January 26, 1935, the band played for the Council's Annual meeting held in San Angelo.  A photo of the band in their Boy Scout uniforms appeared in the January 26, 1935, issue of the SAN ANGELO MORNING TIMES. 

The band was suppose to have gone to the National Boy Scout Jamboree in August of 1935, but because of a polio epidemic, the trip was canceled and they went to California to the San Diego Exposition instead. 

The band was present at Camp Louis Farr on June 16, 1937, for the dedication of Carr Village.  They played the Star Spangled Banner, following the invocation, while the flag was raised in the center of the Village.  They also provided music to the group. 

Band a hit at 1937 National Boy Scout Jamboree

(Taken from the West Texas Scout News, Tuesday, August 3, 1937, written by Bryan Cooney)

Cowboy Band

"There were twenty-four Scours from Troop 49, Iraan, who attended the Jamboree.  The rest of the band of thirty pieces was compost of Scouts from other troops.  Under the capable leadership of Mr. Jacques Nonce, this band put Iraan on the map.  It also gave the Easterners a good idea what Texas is like, with members wearing cowboy boots, chaps, spurs, gay colored shirts and ten gallon hats.  Others who were with the band were Acting Scoutmaster H. B. Blackburn, Assistant Scoutmaster James K. Biggs and Assistant Scoutmaster J. B. Morris.

"This was the official band for Regions eight and nine, and they had the privilege of greeting Dan Beard as he arrived at the Jamboree.  They serenaded James E. West, Chief Scout Executive, and broadcast from a National hookup on the Jamboree grounds.

"Their toughest job at the Jamboree was playing for the Circus program of region eight and nine.  They had to play fast circus marches for over two hours and then walk three miles back to camp.

"The boys had a great time.  They visited the Washing Monument, The Capitol, White House, Supreme Court, Mt. Vernon, Smithsonian Institute, Library of Congress, Arlington Cemetery, Lincoln Memorial and all the Government Department Buildings.

"The band members were: Luther B. Stover, Eudell Copeland, Ed Earl Hebisen, Winston Holcomb, Oliver Barnes, J. B. Copeland, Lewis Blackburn, Keith Anderson, David Morrison, Jolly Johnson, Montgomery, Zack McFarland, J. D. Carr, Jimmis Rigbee, Elmer Sutton, Raymond Warner, Bryan Cooney, Leon Harris of McCamey, Tom Hogan from Crane, Clarence Holcombe, Robert Patterson, Robert Ivy, Norman Montgomery and Edwin Shadle.  Four Scouts from San Angelo also played with the band. R. C. Calk and Jack Baggett of Ozona were the drum majors."

Make Trip to Eagle Pass

The band played for the first Winter Garden Boy Scout Circus in Eagle Pass on November 13, 1937.  They played during the parade of all Scouts present and also several numbers during the Circus.  The band played at the dedication ceremony held on the Town Square in Iraan on August 23, 1940, for the Sea Scout Patrol's cruiser, the S.S.S. Yates, prior to the boat being taken to Lake Nasworthy near San Angelo.

Troop 9's Band

Troop 9, San Angelo, was organized in January 1935, as a nucleus of a Boy Scout Band for the community.  The band made its first public appearance on Sunday, February 10, 1935, at the Business Men's Bible Class.  At that time the band had eighteen members.  The Scoutmaster of the Troop was Ira Johnson, with Chief N. N. Bourland as director of the band.  The troop was sponsored by the Community Concert Association.

A year later, the troop gathered together some forty Scouts, parents, and leaders in the studio of Chief N. N. Bourland for the first birthday party of the troop.  Scouts Jones Webb, Perry Elliott, Horace Arnold and George and C. J. Poulter gave musical numbers.  We believe the band lasted only a couple of years because the Boy Scout Band was reorganized in San Angelo in mid October, 1938.  This band made its first public appearance at the Council's Annual meeting held January 20, 1939, on the roof of the St. Angelus Hotel.  The director of the new band, Homer A. Anderson, was band instructor in the Junior and Senior High schools.  Frank Herrington, a junior in Senior High school, served as assistant band director. 

The band did not rehearse regularly as a Scout unit but was made available for all Scout events at which music was desired.  Scouts in the band were from Troop 2, 4, 6, 7, 11, 12, and 32. 

Lone Scout Band - Rising Star

The following story appeared in the local newspaper, name unknown, concerning the Lone Scout Band, around 1927.

"Local radio fans and friends of the boys will no doubt be interested in learning that the "Tejas Ticklers" string orchestra of the local Lone Scouts , will broadcast a program beginning at 10:30 next Tuesday night over Station K.F.Q. R., the occasion being the opening of he new Wesrook Hotel.

"The engagement was secured by Melvin Boatman, member of the orchestra who was in Fort Worth the past week.

"The boys have only been organized some six months but by constant practice have developed to the point where they render some very splendid music, having played at several school entertainments the past fall and at social gatherings in the city. 

"The boys would be glad for their friends to tune in on the program and no doubt would appreciate congratulatory messages which would be good publicity for Rising Star."

A follow-up story then appeared in the paper:

"Rising Star received quite a bit of publicity Tuesday night when the "Tejas Tickler" local Lone Scout Orchestra, gave a program over Station KFQB at Fort Worth, the boys receiving congratulatory messages from all over the state and adjoining states.  A number of their friends from Rising Star wired and phone in to express their appreciation of the program, including the Rising Star Chamber of Commerce.

"The boys were given a faltering introduction by the announcer, calling each boy by name and saying some nice things about Rising Star.  The boys got their program over in great shape, the numbers being of the popular type and also including a number of old time pieces.

"Following is the personnel of the orchestra:
Claude Foster, director; guitar.
Harry Wigginton, leader; violin.
James Tomlinson, piano.
Merlvin Boatman, guitar.
Walter Tomlinson, banjo-uke."

Another story also appeared about the band in the newspaper in the summer of 1927:

"A concert by the Tejas Ticklers, Lone Scout string band of this city, will be one of the principal features at the First Annual Nine Rally and Conference of the organization to be held at Dallas, August 27-28 (1927).  The young musicians have attracted much attention in scouting circles recently because of their ability.

"Roy W. McDonald, National Chief of the Lone Scouts, will deliver the principal address at the gathering.  Mr. McDonald s an expert on all phases of boys' work and addressed a National gathering of officials of the Boy Scouts of America, of which the Lone Scouts is a division, at Hot Springs, Ark., last summer on Lone Scout procedure.

Karl M. Read, Regional Chief, will speak on the present status of Lone Scout work in the three states of his jurisdiction: Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico.  Other addresses by prominent scouts will be made also and plenty of athletic and scouting contests."

Scout Orchestra of Breckenridge

According to the Brownwood Bulletin, January 25, 1936, the music for their Annual Council Banquet was furnished by the Scout Orchestra of Breckenridge, of wich J. C. Burkett was director.

Band at Camp Martin

A. J. Campbell, band director at Eastland, led the first band at Camp Martin.  It was composed of Scouts from Cisco, Eastland, Olden, Ranger and Gorman who came to camp from Eastland County Council.   It was active at camp in July 1928.  Eighteen Scouts were members of the band.  The band was a regular feature of the camp again in 1929.

Other Bands at Camps

Troops 17 and 18 of Breckenridge arrived at Camp Billy Gibbons in 1932 with a “well organized band” according to a story in The Bugle Call, the camp newspaper.  The band played “Onward Christian Soldier” while three Eagle Scouts carried a floral wreath and placed it on rocks gathered by Scout Troops to use in building a memorial to Billy Gibbons on Sunday, July 24, 1932.

A Scout orchestra was organized in Rising Star Troop 15 in January of 1933 under the leadership of the Assistant Scoutmaster Benny Busbee.  Eleven members of the Troop were part of the orchestra and they were all accomplished musicians.  They were all older Scouts in the Troop, probably high school age who were members of the high school band.  Their first appearance was to be at the Annual Father and Son Banquet in February. 

During the Council Annual Meetings in January of 1935, 1937, and 1939, music was furnished by the Breckenridge Scout orchestra that was directed by J. C. Burkett.  The evening program was opened in 1939 with music by the band of Sea Scout Ship Texan. 

Cookie’s Cookies

Troop 2 organized a Boy Scout band in early 1939 and named it “Cookie’s Cookies.”  They were practicing “diligently” according to a report in the Brownwood Bulletin on January 17th, but we don't know if they ever performed in public.

Dublin’s Drum and Bugle Corp

Dublin had an active Drum and Bugle Corp in 1938.  Led by W. E. Sparks, they put on a demonstration at the Annual Boy Scout meeting held in Brownwood on January 21, 1938, and again on January 27, 1939.  In April, they led a Scout parade and gave demonstrations of their skills in that community.  On June 15, they went to Fort Worth and participated in a parade in connection with the State Safety Meet.  The corp was made up of Scouts from Troop 22 and Troop 24.

The Drum and Bugle Corp performed at the Council Rally held on September 2, 1938, at Lake Eanes, Comanche, with some one hundred and fifty Scouts present.  Scouts attended the Rally from Dublin, Comanche, Gorman, Rising Star, Brownwood, Mullin, Zephyr and San Saba. 

Later that year, in September, they returned from participating in the American Legion Convention parade in Austin and were greeted by “a small army of automobiles containing local citizens who immediately got into parade form and rode down the city streets headed by the Drum and Bugle Corp.” 

There is also a photo of a Drum and Bugle Corp that existed in San Saba from Troop 55.  No date as to when the photo was taken.

Band In Brownwood?

We think there may have been a Boy Scout band in Brownwood in the spring of 1931.  A brief story in the “Boy Scout News” section of the May 16, 1931 Brownwood Bulletin stated that “Merle Baker, Boy Scout Band director, made a report on the progress of the band.”   However, nothing was ever reported about any activities of the band in the community.

Added: June 3, 2011