Marshall Historical Society

Band Concerts
Art Sanders

With the ending of World War I, many communities began organizing special monthly parades of returning soldiers with floats and marching bands. Later, by saving the parades, floats and marching for big holidays, the bands developed the idea of a semi-permanent concert, usually on a Friday or Saturday evening. In the early 1920's Deansboro's musicians gathered on the steps in front of Pete Klotchback's meat market and Ben Smith's barber shop to play a few rousing marches on Friday evenings -- heavy on the drums. Soon, cars full of parents and children started parking along the roads and at the end of each piece, there would be applause and the honking of horns.

I think Don Williams made the first wooden platform in sections, and the saw-horses to support it. The location was moved across the road, to the small grassy area just outside the big iron fence around the Hovey place on the corner, in front of the big Chestnut tree. Flood lights were provided with power from the Deansboro Hotel. Don later made a larger folding band stand with wheels so it could be moved and stored in the horse sheds behind the Methodist church. The Waterman home was started by the Indians who erected the front section. Then the property was sold and the next owner built an "L".

For many years Deansboro owned Friday evening and these band concerts brought in hundreds of people. It was a two-hour event, with the presentation of returning soldiers, news of sick or injured neighbors, sometimes introductions of instrumental soloists or singers, and ads for the local businesses who underwrote the expenses of the concerts. Earlier, hand held megaphones were used, until someone donated an electric amplifier. Talented band leaders probably enjoyed the challenge of working with musicians who enjoyed playing together but had no time for rehearsals!

I remember my grandmother popped a lot of popcorn which she poured into small paper bags, and I walked around from car to car, selling it for a nickel a bag. On a good evening, I could make about $5. I think it was Eddy Jones who started selling paper cups of root beer, and Freddy Converse sold dixie cups of ice cream. Later on, some adults set up a little stand to sell all this and candy bars and soft drinks, so our childhood business ventures folded.

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