Memories of the Burlington Municipal Band
by Mrs. Myrna Vaughan Zabloudil
These remembrances are of when I was about six to fifteen years of age, making my memories of about 1943 to 1952. My father, who died in 1972 at age 88, was a rural mail carrier. He was friends with his fellow co-workers at the post office. I can remember around four of them were members of the Municipal Band. One of them I remember was Schmitty, who lived two houses north of Scotties on Summer Street. One man played the trumpet or cornet, and one played the trombone. I believe one other played the drums.
May the Municipal Band continue on into the next generation, and the next. Friendships are renewed and communities are bonded together, by the sharing of talent of local musicians.
I'm very sure that those numerous times of attending the wonderful Municipal Band concerts from about age six until I graduated from high school, helped me actually decide on choosing music as a lifelong job and hobby. They say early childhood is a very important and decisive time. I guess this one humble remembrance helps to prove the point.
I marched around that bandstand until I was probably the oldest child to do that, about age eleven, and then, feeling foolish that people thought I was too big to be doing that, I resorted to sitting in the back seat of our Studebaker. I didn't like that as well, for I couldn't SEE the instruments as well, or feel the vibrations from sitting on the steps. Also, it was at this time I decided to invent screens for car windows. There were always lots of mosquitoes there. That hope was dashed when air-conditioners arrived in cars.
There was a little ice cream shop very close, near the corner of the park, and we would usually get either ice cream or, my favorite, an ice-cold root beer. What a delight and it just polished off the evening.
The cars all parked completely around the bandstand with headlights pointed straight in to the center. Most people stayed in their cars and at every number's end they all laid on their horns. It was a contest to see who could blow his horn the loudest, and needless to say, who horn would be the VERY last to quit honking. There was always one last "beep".
I cannot presently recall any conductor other than Mr. Maury Wright. I remember watching the baton, ever so crisply being propelled up and down. A man played the tiny piccolo, and then would change to flute very quickly. I always wondered how his fingers could hit the right note. I wanted to try to play some of the instruments but was too shy to ask.
These same men loyally played in the Municipal Band every year. There is probably a list and perhaps I would recognize some of the other names. The concerts were on Wednesday evenings and again on Sunday. We hardly missed a concert. I was enchanted, as a young girl, to watch the colored water jetting into heaven as the fanciful music propelled me into a fantasy land. I was extremely happy to be presented with this offering of perky, invigorating, uplifting music. My bones just would not sit still. Around the old band stand were white blooming bridal wreath. Children constantly marched, stomped, and tip-toed around and around the bandstand on any and every number. We didn't wait for one special number as nowadays, but always marched during the whole program. Bigger children took the lead or took the hands of smaller children. Even live pets were dragged by their tiny masters round and round. What a great and lasting memory. Starting the piano at age four, I was already interested in music and I was enthralled with this whole experience. I knew at a young age that this was the entertainment for me! I'm sure I eagerly jumped into the old Studebaker car every week, to be driven over to the "fairyland", Crapo Park, where I could climb to the top step, as close to the conductor as I could get to watch absolutely everything I could digest about music from my perch. Quietly, mannerly, so as never to be in the way, I observed hungrily, grasping how that trombone could get all those movable sounds. I feasted my eyes on Schmitty, watching his fingers march up and down, up and down, only to clap as loud as I could at each numbers end.
These men had a ritual each and every morning at the post office. They were to report to work and be ready to "case the mail" by 5:00 a.m. each day. Before starting each morning, the band members, plus my father, each had these little ceremonial tunes they played before starting work. My father, Roy, did not play in the band, but joined them each morning with his stringed instrument. I believe it is called a pianola. I still have this instrument. It got more and more out of tune, and probably he didn't know how to tune it! Several times in the summer, while on school vacation, I got to go to the Post Office and sit right outside the door and listen to their morning ritual before leaving on his mail route. I am presuming I wasn't allowed actually inside, thus my seat by the alley on the top step, located in the old Post Office, next to the present fire station.
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