A part of the IAGenWeb and USGenWeb Projects
Fairfield Bands Through the Years
"The Fairfield Tribune"
October 4, 1889
Front Page, Column 1
The Last Band Concert.
The Charter Oak Band gave the last open air concert of the season last Saturday night. This completed a series of concerts which have been given once a week since the first of July. The music furnished on these occasions has been good and each band concert night has found a large number of people gathered on the square to enjoy it.
This band was organized something more than a year ago and with few exceptions the members are at the Turney Charter Oak Wagon Works, hence the name. The band is composed of twenty-two members with T. H. Jones as director, and everyone of the members has done hard and faithful work during the year of their organization. The weekly concerts will be very generally missed, but at this season of the year the weather is most too cool for out-of-door entertainment of this sort. It is to be hoped that the Charter Oak Band will keep up the work it has begun and that next summer the old order of concerts will be resumed. It is impossible for a town of this size to give a band the remuneration which it deserves, but the financial affairs of the band have been greatly helped by the money paid them by the merchants during the time they gave concerts.
"The Fairfield Daily Ledger-Journal"
Monday, December 11, 1922
Front Page, Column 1, and
Page 3, Column 7
SOME HISTORY OF FAIRFIELD BAND MUSIC
Old Charter Oak Band Was First To Put the City On The Map, Back Years Ago
[Note: See bottom of page for a photo of the Charter Oak Band]
For quite a number of years, Fairfield has enjoyed a wide reputation as a center for band music of the better class. Along with the advancement in the other lines of musical entertainment the band feature has kept steady pace and today Fairfield's fame in that line extends to all parts of the state.
The old Charter Oak band first put the city on the musical map, and was followed by organizations under different titles, "Fairfield Iowa Band", "K of P.," etc., and have had as leaders some of the ablest directors of band music. Each succeeding season has seen an improvement in the quality of music rendered and appreciation by the public has been correspondingly pronounced. But the way was not aoses (sic) for the musicians.
While in the later years a band auxiliary, formed of business men, created a fund in which to pay the leader a meager salary for his services, there were a host of expenses--band room rents, heat, uniforms, etc.--which kept every one scheming how to make ends meet and was a constant wonder how they ever came as near doing it. Among the leaders of these days was Prof. Leo. Schmidt who directed the K. of P. band from 1916 to 1917(.) Yankton, S. D., with a municipal band, supported and salaried by a county tax levy called Prof. Schmidt and being worn with the struggle of the Fairfield organization for existence he accepted and moved to the western state. Before leaving however, Prof. Schmidt chanced to remark to a Fairfield boy who was connected to things military, "Establish a regimental band at Fairfield, with its military features, its government support, etc., and I will gladly return and give you my very best efforts."
Dream Comes True
Four years ago Ed Lucas made the dream come true and through his efforts Fairfield was tendered the Fourth Infantry band and the requirements being the enlistment of a certain number of musicians in a given time. Orders called for twenty-eight men and realizing that opportunity such as this knock but once the number was soon obtained, the principal part being musicians from the former K of P. band, Prof. Schmidt was soon on the job and the first camp, that at Storm Lake, was creditably attended with the twenty-eight men.
Two years ago in a shakeup of formation of regiments, the Fourth Infantry became the 133rd and new orders called for a band of forty members. Before leaving for camp an effort was made to bring the number of enlisted men up to that total as was also the case last year.
Best on the Lot
The past two years with the annual encampment at Camp Dodge the local organization has had competition from two other bands, the cavalry band of 26 pieces from Ottumwa and the 168th infantry band of 40 pieces of Council Bluffs. Each year the Fairfield band has been designated as the best musical organization and chosen for the big ceremonies of the encampment(.) Not only musically has Fairfield been first but also in the execution of military maneuvers on the field and elsewhere due to the untiring effots and knowledge of Sergeant Spielman, who gained his experience "across the pond."
Enlistments Hold Band
Fairfield can continue to be the home of the 133rd Infantry band on one condition--required enlistments. The adjutant general sets out maximum and minimum totals and considers that a community which does not appreciate the good things a regimental band brings, does not deserve to keep it. It is in the adjutant general's power to transfer the band section to another city at any time. There is no lack of cities who wish Fairfield's band and will do considerably more than is required to get it. They are alive to what it means to a city, and in months past, it is said, a determined effort on the part of several of the larger cities has been made. But Fairfield can still remain the home of the 133rd Infantry band if its musicians are patriotic enough to put themselves under instruction of military leaders. New enlistments have not come as fast as discharges for removal from community, etc., and the officers in charge are ready and anxious to explain any detail and would like to know.
What It Means to Fairfield
The service company, of which the band is a part, brings $25,000 federal money into Fairfield per year. It is divided into drill pay, camp pay, officers' salary, maintenance, etc., and is spent among Jefferson county merchants by the men. This is no small item and means that much federal money in circulation here which would not come otherwise. Musicians receive $1.25 per rehearsal, which occurs once a week, and about $30 for the fifteen days at camp. Thus it is readily seen with the government paying for rehearsal time, furnishing all accommodations as to light, heat and maintenance, and the future prestige of federal connection, an enlisted band in Fairfield is surely much more to be desired tha (sic) one which has to struggle for existence on its own resources.
Up to Musicians
The band wants new members. A strenuous, instructive musical program has been mapped out for this winter, and when spring comes a real organization will be ready for activity in Fairfield and elsewhere the government furnishes instruments and pays you for playing. There's a good bunch of enlisted fellows down at the Armory an da (sic) bunch of officers who are real fellows. If you are interested in receiving first class musical instruction and enjoy good fellowship and at the hasem time (sic) help Fairfield keep the 133rd band, drop down at the Armory and learn how it's done.
"The Fairfield (Ia.) Daily Ledger"
Saturday, January 28, 1939
Fairfield Band, In Varied Names, Continues Over Fifty Years
One Continuing Group Marches for City's Fame In Many States
First organization was C. B. & Q. Band; now 55 annual Milestones mark the progress to the present regimental band
Few cities in Iowa have been as fortunate in the matter of marching and military bands. Fairfield has had one continuous band organization extending over a period of more than 50 years although there have been several different names for the band. The ity, all through the years, because ity all through the years, because (sic) of its fine band. The reputation extended far beyond the borders of Iowa. At one time New Orleans newspapers spread the band's praise all through the South.
Fairfield has long been recognized as a community which knows and appreciates music of the better sort. Particularly, has its band music been outstanding and the organizations which have represented the city in this feature have, with exception, gained fame over the state as well as locally for their performance. The city can point with pride to a long line of bands, representing the city in a procession of years extencing back fifty-five milestones into the past. And the remarkable thing of those years is that at no time has any considerable period elapsed between the activity of one band representing civil music and the reforming of a new and perhaps a greater organization. Their sterling worth to Fairfield and high musical ability has been recognized, especially in this half of the state.
First Band in 1884
Band history is at times hard to follow and pick up, so pictures often play a part to establish dates and identity. Pictures and other verbal history accounts tell us that in 1904 George W. Unkrich conducted the Fairfield Band, a direct descendant from the Charter Oak Band. For several years Mr. Unkrich guided its destinies, and after his resignation Julius Winters took charge. Mr. Winters saw the name of the band changed to the Forest City Band, and was its director for a considerable time. He was followed by Bert Tabor, who was employed for a time, resigned and left Fairfield, then later returned again as director.
Changes To K. of P.
We next find the official band under the name of the K. of P. Band, being sponsored and in a measure supported by the local K. of P. lodge. Its director was now Leo Schmidt, and a picture taken in 1912 shows many locals who have long since abandoned music, as its members. This band was exceptionally good, recognized so generally.
Again the name of the band swings back to Fairfield Band. In along about 1916, Bert Tabor was again director for a short time. He was a goodgood (sic) amateur leader, being succeeded by Fred Jewell, who guided its destinies for a year. Jewell was one of the best musicians to direct a Fairfield band, and greater opportunity called him from the city. He also created a remarkable Fairfield band, was well liked by the musicians.
Mr. Jewell became a successful music publisher and bands still play his compositions. A piece of his music was heard only recently over WHO.
Enters The 133rd Band
In 1919 Fairfield had been without a band leader and an organized band for some months, when the opportunity came to secure the 133rd Regimental Band. Recognizing instantly the value of military stability and the federal remuneration for musicians, the Band auxiliary, a committee intrested in civic music immediately got to work, secured the necessary band personnel. With the able assistance of Maj. Ed Lucas the 133rd became a Fairfield institution. On November 11, 1918, twenty-eight were sworn in. Two candidate directors were tried out, Prof. Herb and Bert Tabor.
Finally Leo Schmidt was called back to aFirfield (sic) to direct the military unit and for many years guided it musically to a high degree. He was followed by William Laurier, who also gained laurels for the band's performance. Mr. Laurier was succeeded by George L. Simmons, the present director.
Then On For 20 Years
For twenty years the 133rd Band has carried on the official city band title without a break. In the known 55 years of local band history there have been seven official bands. six of the seven have accounted for thirty-five years, while the seventh, the 133rd, occupies the remaining twenty years. This is a remarkable record for Fairfield civic music, not only in the years of progressive succession but in the caliber of the programs presented. An intimate, complete chronology of the doings f (sic) these several bands would make interesting reading, indeed.
PICTURES ON DISPLAY AT THE LEDGER
Will be moved to store window on square next week
A display of the pictures of Fairfield's bands is being made in the window of the Daily Ledger office for the time being.
Next week the pictures will be moved to a window in one of the business houses on the square. The pictures have been collected by Fred W. Jericho. He has been a member of most of these changing organizations up to the time of the formation of the present Regimental band.
Mr. Jericho, always a band enthusiast has searched long to find the series of pictures displayed today. If anyone has a picture of these bands which is not shown, he would be glad to know of it.
Each picture on display has a list of the members of the band below it.
Other Bands In Fairfield
Fairfield has long been musically minded and no one organization has included all of the city's musicians. Parsons college, the Fairfield High school and other city bands have maintained good organizations. Mr. George W. Unkrich long directed his Unkrich's Boys band, and there have been others since.
The articles on this page dealing with the C. B. & Q. band and its successors, cannot cover all band organizations.
Military Band One of Four In Iowa
Distinction shared with Council Bluffs, Boone and Oskaloosa
The 133rd Band, Fairfield's official descendant now in the parade of bands, is also an official Iowa band, being the musical unit of the 133rd Regiment, Iowa National Guard. It is Federally recognized Federally paid for drills, and on a par in consideration in most ways with the regular army. Controlled from the office of the Adjutant General of the State of Iowa, through local officers, it is one of four such bands in the State. The others are 168th Regimental Band of Council Bluffs; 113 Calvary Band of Oskaloosa; Artillery Band of Boone. Fairfield is much the smallest of the four cities to be the home of such an organization.
On November 11th, last, the band ended 20 years of activity with Fairfield as its "home." Many Fairfield musicians have served their "bit", received their honorable discharge from the service and have a treasure of fond memories gathered therein. The 133rd Band has done many notable things in those 20 years and received deserved commendation. To enumerate them might be considered a spirit of boastfulness, but it has been freely recognized by those in authority that the band has been and is "good" which is one of the open secrets. One of the best indications of excellency is the fact that in face of a fervent desire fo rits (sic) possession by larger cities and the "stormy weather" sometimes encountered in Fairfield, the band has remained here, left, no doubt, with the idea that it would be a shame to "bust so good an outfit". Which to the unmitigated might sound like the aforesaid boasting, but to those in the "know", facts.
The Band is a section of the Local Service Company of the 133rd Regiment. The two "sections", (Service and Band) are commanded by Capt. Chaarles T. McCampbell. Its duties are practically wholly of a musical nature, while at camp and at home. Directly in command of the band's activities is Warrant Officer Charles C. Brown. Officer Brown has 20 years behind him in service to Uncle Sam, has been with the 133rd band many years and is an efficient and popular officer. Rehearsals are held each Monday evening under the baton of Tech. Sgt. George L. Simmons.
Band affairs outside of military duty are acted upon by the band as a whole, goverened by committee or special representative and each has a voice and vote in performance. A striking demonstration of "fraternalism" is the number of what are termed "cadets" (young boys in early teens) sittin in at rehearsals and incidentally playing concerts with the enlisted men. The boys are regular in attendance and are taking a keen interest in the music. Incidentally, they are paid for concerts along with the other personnel. The band is recognized by the citizenry generally as an asset to the city, in that it brings into aFirfield (sic) each year several thousands of dollars as its share of Federal drill pay, money which otherwise would not reach here.
Thus, in the "parade of bands", is found the 133rd as the last, most substantially founded and perhaps the best advertising medium for the city o fthe (sic) long list. Fairfield would do well to retain it for another twenty years.
Musicians Listed From Early Days
Only few still living who are shown in earliest pictures
Here are listed the names of musicians who have been connected with the old Burlington railroad band and its successors, as shown in the series of pictures which F. W. Jericho has collected, and which are on display. This list of musicians does not by any means include all those who have played, at some time, in the successors to the C. B. & Q. band. It represents the individuals who were present when the different photographs were taken. Probably others were members of the bands.
Any other names or additional information about the bands would be gladly received by Mr. Jericho, who is assembling a history of them.
Will Harris, Weasel Smith, Arthur Shirk, Joe Dofflerenger, Clark Morris, Fred Gage, Charley Herring, Bert Stubs, Fred Spielman, Ralph Stephenson, Vern Banger, Fritz Goehner, Archie Hopkins, H. G. Petty, William Wells.
(Back row, standing, left to right)
Bruce Russell, Franz Liming, Thomas Jones, Bert Howe, Robert Shelton, Frank Jones (middle row) Fred Hastings, Arthur Myers, Ted Graham, Louis Statler, Frank Van Dorn, Tabby Wright, Harry Stanwood, Fred Campbell, (seated) Jack Hastings, Jack Calhoun, Harry Loring, Henry Brown, John Briggs, son Fred Briggs, Joe Carbaugh, Ed McNeeley.
Dr. Trabel, Jim Shorer, Jim Hughes, Lee Hobson, Wesley Gaumer, Carl Sesler, Dutch Woellhof, Bob Bowman, Hugh Eder, Frank Dooley, Fred Perkins, Leo Holgate, Raymond Cassel, Harold Thoma, Ray Simmons, Charley Box, Bill Williams, Bert Greeson, Art Denny, Ed Manley, Alex Duffin, Amiel Thys, Curtis Elliot, Art Cooper, Charles Hyde, Chuck Cassel, Leo Schmidt, Earl Ruhe, Dip Miller, Carl Copeland, Charles Brown, Dr. Lambert, F. W. Jericho, Levi Graber, Raymond Holgate, Clarence Glass, Joe Roth, Gerald R. Larson.
Chuck Cassel, Forrest Wright, Dip Miller, Tom Hannah, Wesley Gaumer, Alvin Went, Bill Williams, Leo Schmidt, Hugh Elder, Raymond Cassel, Ed Manley L. C. (Tudy) Ball, Clarence Glass, Morris, Art Cooper, Carl Seeler, Jim Hughes, Jim Hammond, Frank Dealey, Joe Carbaugh, Carl Copeland, Charles Brown, Charles H. Maxwell, Cliff Thoma, F. W. Jericho.
Gus Freed, Art Cooper, Ben Truman, Howard Weamer, Ralph Munro, Fred Jericho, Fred Perkins, Percy Easton, Fred Mathers, Clyce Conner, Howard Leedham, Chet Kearns, Wesley Gaumer, Guy Loehr, Frank Dealey, George Sesler, Cliff Strong.
(Back row standing) Leo O'Bryan, Harold Thoma, Carl Copeland, Geo. Goeket.
(Second row) Bert Parrett, Jim Hughes, Frank Dealey, Fred Stevens, Morrest Wright, Ed Manley, Wiliam Cupp, Ben Fry, Cliff Howel, John Lindauer, Hugh Elder, Wesley Gaumer, Ernest White, William Buck, F. W. Jericho.
Smith, Averill Hammes, Art Cooper, Lee Holgate, Clarence Glass, Fred Jewell, Raymond Davis, Fred Drummond, Bob Conlee, H. W. Collins, Chester Hyde, Don ---, Joe Roth.
First row (left to right)--
Tech. Sgt. George L. Simmons, Miller Derr, Leland Johnson, Richard Warner, Wesley Hamm, Rex Horning, Lloyd Hanshaw, Leonard Hendricks, Sgt. Clayton Horton, Sgt. Frank N. Simmons, Donald Hartman, George McClain, Elbert Little, Rex Roberts, Dale Krumboltz, John Jackson, Harold Carlson, Warrant Officer Charles C. Brown.
Back row (left to right)--
Sgt. Glenn Little (Drum Major), John Riley, Charles Ruble, Robert Zeigler, Robert Pixley, Bert Pixley, Clyde Unkrich, Eliel Kirkpatrick, Robert Harris, Corp. Clarence Brady, Ben McGuire, Raymond West, Vern Hix, Harold Wilson, Gordon Ruhe, Vern Reed, Merle Gaumer, Capt. C. T. McCampbell.
Bands Were Variously Financed
Late Geo. W. Ball and local group secured Iowa's law
The history of early bands, and in fact up until the time of the adoption by the state legislature of the Iowa Band Law, shows a desperate struggle for existence -- financially. While the average musician who plays in a band as a civic enterprise does not expect to profit to any great monetary degree, yet there are numbers upon numbers of expenses which have to be met. These the early bands found to be a great problem. The salary of a leader (they were not expected to work for nothing), room rents, uniforms, music, instruments, lights and fuel -- all these had to be met principally by civic donation. Just how great a struggle for existence can be realized only by those connected. Then came the Iowa Band law which allowed the levying of a mill percentage taxation for band support.
Word was received about a band tax law in a western state. The Hon. George W. Ball was delegated to investigate the tax and through his efforts an Iowa tax for bands was obtained. Fairfield is thus directly responsible for the state band tax law.
Prior to and after the law came into effect, Fairfield had what was termed a Band Auxiliary. This Auxiliary concerned itself with the monetary end of the business and conducted the "campaigns" of solicitation. One of the most successful and active of these auxiliaries was composed of Fred Raible, Fred Jericho, Dillon Turney, Ray Baker, Ray Maxwell and Milt Cuddy.
This Auxiliary functioned until the latter '20's when solicitation of funds ceased and the voted tax levy made to carry the expense. To its members great credit should be given for making possible this unbroken chain of civic music.
The work of a band representative of the character of performance of previous Fairfield organizations, covers entire years of rehearsals with diligent practice "off" the concert season as well as "in". Hence, the renumeration individually for any musician has been very negligible, indeed.
In order that the winter rehearsals would be well-attended it was necessary for the treasurer to hold all money that was obtained during the summer months, when no time was lost from regular work. The money was held and paid out for winter expense. Band members who reported regularly for practices in the winter were paid after each session with the summer money. Regular attendance for rehearsals was established in this manner.
Regimental Band Ranks High In Musical World; Been Here Since 1918
Was organized at close of World War with 28 members; Frank Simmons only 'original'
November 11, 1918. Fairfield's present band in the "procession of music"-- 133rd Regimental Band -- came into being. It has the longest record of any of the previous organizations which have carried the fame of Fairfield music throughout the years since 1884, and through its military connections has been perhaps the best known. For twenty unbroken years since its musician personnel has changed, older musicians giving way to younger blood, but always with a standard of music which has characterized it as one of the really good bands of Iowa.
In the summer of 1918, at the close of the World War the 4th Regiment, Iowa National Guard needed a band. Through the untiring efforts of Major Lucas of Des Moines and local musicians, Fairfield was selected as its site with the pledging of a personnel of 28 musicians. November 11 of that year, those 28 musicians were sworn into service and attached to the local Headquarters Company of the 4th Infantry Regiment, commanded by Capt. L. R. Greenfield. Later the 4th Regiment designation was changed to the 133rd Regiment and the Headquarters company became the Service Company, which it has since remained. Only one of the original twenty-eight musicians sworn in at the start is now actively connected with the band, being Sgt. Frank N. Simmons who has served for 20 years as bass drummer.
The 133rd Regimental Band has done much to advertise Fairfield in surrounding States as well as Iowa. Besides local appearances, the band appeared at The Century of Progress in Chicago for a week's engagement as an official band. A prized plaque from the Century of Progress management, acknowledging excellent service, now adorns a wall space in the band headquarters at the local Armory. It has other plaques, notably the Elk's plaque won at Keokuk in the late state convention parade, and several citation letters of fine service. The local band has attended 19 annual encampments of Iowa Guardsmen and at each has been freely acknowledged as the best field band among several bands present. At Ripley, Minn., in 1938, it drew forth words of praise in its work at the camp review, with ten bands appearing on the field. The 133rd Band has been public spirited and has donated its services to numerous occasions in Fairfield, and is considered one of the assets of the community along with factories, etc.
The authorized strength of the 133rd Band is 35 musicians and the Warrant Officer. The members receive "drill" pay from the U. S. government and are furnished all instruments, as well as other equipment. There is no break in the schedule of work the year 'round, Monday evenings being the designated time for local rehearsals. Rehearsals last one hour and a half. At present rehearsals are being followed by thirty minute blackboard lessons in harmony, transposing, etc.
The first Warrant Officer of the 133rd Band was Leo Schmidt, who had been connected with Fairfield music for several years, before, and returned to Fairfield to take charge of this organization. To him belongs great credit for the stride the band made musically. The field work at this time was under the supervision of Guy Spielman as drum major and it was he who set the band off right, at the very start. Spielman was a drum major with World War experience in France.
Warrant Officer William Laurier was director of the band for several years and also deserves a full measure of credit for the past work of the band. In charge of an overseas band in France during the World War, he was thoroughly familiar with the military end as well as the musical. He was an ardent booster for his organization and promoted numerous appearances of the band locally and over the state which were marked successes. Charles C. Brown was drum major during Officer Laurier's command.
The present Warrant Officer is Charles C. Brown. Mr. Brown has over 20 years army experience, a goodly portion of which was with the organization he now guides. He served the U. S. in France and is well versed in things military, as well as musical. He is "tops" with his men and deserves the promotion given him in the guidance of the band militarily.
Technical Sergeant George L. Simmons directs the band musically. Sgt. Simmons has a background of many years' musical experience. He started his musical career as a bugler on the Mexican Border at the age of near 14, with Fairfield's old Company M. He has filled first chairs in the trumpet section, studied hard in preparation as a music instructor, taught music in public schools and at last achieved his life desire as director of the "outfit" with which he served so many years.
Sergeant Glenn Little is the present drum major of the 133rd. He has several years of service in connection with the organization and gained his "major" position through the school experience from the ranks. He keeps a "level head" while at work in field maneuvers and has the confidence and respect of all the men and officers.
Twenty years is a long time for any musical organization to remain intact, and the fact that it has had Federal connection perhaps explains it. That it had to be good to retain that connection, remains without saying.
"The Fairfield (Ia.) Daily Ledger"
Thursday, June 25, 1964
Fairfield's Tradition As 'Band Town' Dates Back Some 80 Years
When the 34th Army band presents a concert in Central Park or marches smartly at the head of a parade, it is carrying on a Fairfield tradition that dates back at least 80 years.
The city has had a long list of civilian and miliatry (sic) bands which have won acclaim throughout the state and even in foreign lands.
Fairfield's first organized band of size, according to local records was the CB&Q band, organized in 1884. The band took its name from the Burlington railroad and was a popular unit through southeast Iowa.
In 1898 the title of Fairfield's "official band" passed to the Charter Oak musicians. Band was sponsored by the Turney Wagon Works and took its name from the company's brand name. Frank Jones was the director.
The Fairfield band was organized about 1904 as a descendant of the Charter Oak band. George V. Unkrich directed the unit for several years. He was succeeded by Julius Winters who changed the name to the Forest City band. Winters, in turn, was succeeded by Bert Tabor.
The next "official" unit was the K. of P. band, sponsored by the Knights of Pythias lodge and organized sometime before 1912 with Leo Schmidt as director.
By 1916, the Fairfield band was back on the scene, this time led by Bert Tabor. The band's next director was Fred Jewell, an outstanding musician and composer.
The city had no organized band in 1918 when the opportunity came to form a new band as part of the 133rd Infantry regiment. A committee was immediately formed and with the help of Major Ed Lucas, the new National Guard unit was authorized.
Twenty-eight men were sworn in on Armistice Day, Nov. 11 1917, to form the original band. William Laurier was the first leader, followed by George L. Simmons.
The band served in Europe during World War II where it later became the 34th Division band.
"The Fairfield (Ia.) Ledger"
Tuesday, December 13, 1977
Long Military Tradition--
Fairfield: A Band Town
Fairfield has always been known as a "Band Town." History of bands date back before the turn of the century.
There was the Charter Oak Band, K of P Band, and the Fairfield Band which was active as early as 1906 with John Fisher as the director.
Later there was George Unkrich's Boys Band and Fairfield's Municipal Band. Both played concerts in Fairfield's Central Park for a number of years.
But the band that has been in existence over a longer period of time and still very much a major part of the Fairfield community and the State of Iowa is the 34th Army Band, Iowa National Guard.
It has been in existence for over a half century. The original National Buard (sic - Guard) Bad was organized in November, 1918, at Fairfield, and was known as the 4th Infantry Regimental Band, Iowa National Guard.
Seven years later, while in summer training at Camp Dodge near Des Moines, the band played a concert at the nearby Hyperion Club.
A picture was taken of the band on the lawn at the club with the golf grounds in the background. It is dated Aug. 9, 1925.
Lester "Shorty" Workman, Stockport, was a member of that band for five years and is shown in the picture. Of the 38 members shown six are still living. It is not certain whether six others are deceased or still living.
Perhaps someone looking at the picture above may have some information about the old-time band members.
Those still living according to information available at present include Albert Gardner, Fairfield; Leonard Greenfield, Fairfield; Lester Workman, Stockport; John Silver, Stockport; Kyle Brickey, Ottumwa; and Ernest Van Patton, address unknown.
Those of whom it is not known if they are living or deceased include the following: a member named Larson, first name unknown; Burns, first name unknown; Phil Jones, Guy Spielman, Jack Chatham, and "Biddy" Bidwell.
Band members still living have been unable to identify two persons in the picture.
The band has established an enviable record during the 59 years it has been in existence. Since then the band has ranked high in the opinions of Army men and consistently receives high ratings.
It is now the only National Guard Band in the State of Iowa and brings favorable publicity and honor to the City of Fairfield. It helps the city maintain its reputation as a patriotic community and pride in its military personnel.
Twenty-eight musicians took the oath at the Fairfield Armory when the National Guard Band was formed in November, 1918. In 1920 the band attended its first summer encampment at Storm Lake.
In 1921, during a reshuffling of tables, the 4th Iowa Infantry Band became the 133rd Infantry Band and attended camp at Camp Dodge near Des Moines.
Just prior to the nation's participation in World War II the Fairfield band and other Guard Units were mustered into federal service. In February, 1941, they departed for Camp Claibourne, La., for what was supposed to be a year's military training.
War was declared after the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941, and the Fairfield Band was among the fisrt U.S. troops to arrive overseas in February, 1942.
Fairfield units saw action in North Africa and the invasion of Europe. While in actual combat band members served as litter bearers and worked with medical units.
They saw action in six of the major campaigns including Tunisia, Naples-Foggia, Anzio, Rome-Arno, North Appennines and Po Valley.
A portion of the band was formed as "The Rhythm Majors," a dance band and it was in great demand entertaining Allied Troops waiting for their return home from Europe.
The dance band is still a part of the band and is in great demand for civilian dances as well as military dances and functions throughout the state.
In April, 1947, after the band had returned home, another reorganization took place in the National Guard and the Fairfield Band was designated as the 34th Division Band.
Still later, in February, 1963, another change was made and it was designated as the 34th Army Band, the unit as it stands today.
MSG Donald Hartman, the band's first sergeant, is the only member left who saw action overseas with the unit during World War II.
Warrant Officer Ron Prill is band director and SFC Larry Hanshaw is administrative tehnician.
During the past two years during its summer training period, the band has toured the State of Iowa as a part of the National Guard's recruiting efforts and brought an abundance of favorable publicity to the Fairfield community.
"The Fairfield Ledger"
Saturday, June 20, 1987
Front Page, Columns 5 and 6
Strike up the band: 1st concert Tuesday
The group that Fairfield High School band director and Iowa National Guard 34th Army Band commanding officer and bandmaster Ron Prill has put together to form a municipal band will play its initial concert Tuesday night.
A total of 39 musicians have been chosen to be a part of the new municipal band that will perform the first of six free summer concerts at 8 p.m. Tuesday night in Central Park.
The group will rehearse for the first time from 7-9:30 p.m. in the FHS band room. The one-hour concerts will be held on the final two Tuesdays of June, July and August in Central Park.
Members of the band are: flute -- Karol Carlsen, Sherri Swaim Taglauer and Melinda Green; oboe -- Shirley Fye Nixon; clarinet -- Janet Hunerdosse, Gary Roth, Sandra K. Johnson, Ranee Anderson, Angela Fritz, Dee Ann Lantz and Suzie Johnson; alto saxaphone -- Linda Prill; tenor saxaphone -- Rodger Gillaspie; baritone saxaphone -- Todd Hall; tuba -- Dean Johnson and Ben Leu; trumpet -- Jim Hafner, Arrvin Bogaards, Sandra Z. Johnson, Don Samuelson, Charles Danielson, Lori Harness, Greg Hanshaw, Jeff Six and Roger McHone; trombone -- Tim Nelson, Jerry Runyon, Steve Bekel, Carl Wischler and John McGlothlin; French horn -- Jim Nixon, Steve Montgomery, Laurie Neff and Scott Walker, who will be harmony band director; baritone horn -- Doug Hipp and Ron Johnson; and percussion -- Eric Henderson, Butch Bloomquist and Jeff Crile.
Last year, a seven-member Dixieland Band that included Prill, presented six free park concerts. For many years the Iowa National Guard 34th Army Band played concerts in the park but that ended in 1984 due to a change in the guard's weekly drill schedule and the long distance many members had to travel to get here.
The forerunner of the guard band, the 133rd Regiment Band, dates back to 1918. Prill says Fairfield had a variety of bands earlier, including the Knights of Pythias Band formed in 1912, the first Fairfield Band in 1904 and the first official band in the city, the Charter Oak Band organized in 1898.
"The Fairfield (Ia.) Ledger"
Monday, June 22, 1987
Page 12, Columns 5 and 6
Band will reminisce during premiere concert
The first Fairfield Municipal Band concert at 8 p.m. Tuesday in Central Park will be reminiscent of some of the early bands and directors in the history of Fairfield bands.
The opening march was written by an early composer and band director in Fairfield, Fred Jewell's "E Pluribus Unum March" from 1916. That will be followed by "The Gold and Silver Waltz," a favorite of past band director Dillon Lowell.
In recognition of the first band in Fairfield, the CB&Q Band of the 1880s, the band will perform "I've Been Working on the Railroad. The Tierney (sic - Turney) Wagon Works called the Charter Oak Wagon Wheels formed a band in the early 1900s and the group was made up of the employees. In paying tribute to the group, the municipal band will play a medley from the musical "Paint Your Wagon."
The band will then play another Jewell composition called "The Iowa Brigade Band," which was written to honor the military band in Fairfield.
The band will then pause for a local Elks Club ceremony paying tribute to Flag Day and the meaning of the United States flag. Wally Auberger from Mount Pleasant will be speaker for the ceremony.
After the ceremony, the band will play "George M. Cohan Patriotic Fantasy," which includes "Yankee Doodle Dandy," "Dixie" and "You're a Grand Old Flag."
"The Wonderful World of Disney" will serve as a reminder of the high school's recent trip to Florida. "All I Owe Ioway" by Rodgers and Hammerstein from the movie "State Fair" will remind listeners that the first Iowa state fair was held in Fairfield.
The military version of "Eternal Father Strong to Save," which represents the Iowa National Guard and the many ceremonies in which they take part will be played next.
The band will conclude the concert with the "On the Square" march and the "Star Spangled Banner."
The impetus for the creation of this page was the contribution of the photos below by Christine Snelling. She received them from the late Wayne and Pearl Krueger. Thanks, Christine!
I am the County Coordinator and the Webmaster, the one who is responsible for the IAGenWeb project for Jefferson County, Iowa. Please contact me if you would like to contribute to this database or if you note any problems with these pages.
Return to the Jefferson County Main Page