Dance band leaders from
Dubuque to Davenport:
Please help the Project
add to this list:
DUBUQUE, Jack Jenney,
Clarence Zahina, F Hunter Fuerste
EAST DUBUQUE: Gerald Accola
DERINDA: Charlie Bertsch
Roy and Glen Harstick, Eddie Uhl, Floyd Curley
SAVANNA: Wayne King, A.J. Reihner, Lawrence Morse, Harry B. Grissinger,
Reverend Bremicker, Ralph Slade, Irv Martindale, Bud Riddle, Duane Lehr, Frank Espisito, Alan Campbell,
Glen and Wade Law, Louis Reusch, Paul V. Stevens, Jr., Marv Schreiner, Ramsey Mason
Maquoqueta: The Oklahoma Cowboys
CARROLL: Art Isenhart, Blendon Law
CLINTON: Tim Sheehan, Emil H. Flindt, Don Karol, F.A. Yates, Paul Strunk, Don Warren
CITY: Jack Morgan
DAVENPORT & TRI-CITIES: Bix Beiderbecke, Hal Wiese, Jack Manthey, Carroll Baker, Jimmy O'Dette,
Ray Winegar, Wibby Fisher, Bob Lofgren, Hy Morgan
Idenified orchestras and musicians Dubuque to Davenport:
During the Roaring 1920's and especially during
the depression years of 1930-1946, dance and music was regular entertainment for families, teens and adults. Playing in a
local band provided income to local musicians, vocalists and their families.
The introduction of phonographs from
about 1900 and radio from about 1920 into the homes of millions of Americans made it possible for thousands of musicians and
song writers to become popular regionally and nationally.
In cities and townships all over America, local orchestras
promoted the era of popular dance and music. The excitement created during this era was similar to the fascination of television
in the 1950's and the INTERNET from 1995 to the present.
Savanna Band, Savanna Orchestra, Savanna Township Band
currently unknown how many or the exact years these orchestras played. There might have been a public band as early as the
1860's but at this time we still need to do more research. For example, a June 1900 Savanna Times Journal (or predecessor
of the STJ) states that a dance was given in the rink at night under the auspices of the Savanna Orchestra. The public was
cordially invited. A late September, 1900 article stated the band played a concert on Main Street to practice playing before
large crowds. A late November, 1900 article states a group of Clinton young people came to Savanna to attend the dance and
wound-up missing their train back to Clinton.
Savanna (Township) Band 1890's-1920's?
Some 1912 members were Charles
Seitzburg, Chet King, Bill Tyler, Boyd Law, Irvin Benedict, Lyle King, Walter Bahwell, Bert Fuller, August Handel, Dan Holland,
Harley Booth, Wayne King, JB Wallace and Ives Law.
Mississippi Orchestra (of Sabula, Iowa)
Savanna Times Journal
article dated early October 1900 stated the orchestra played in Savanna for the "hop" a dance attended by 50 couples and given
by the young ladies of the Nineteenth Century Club.
Savanna Cornet Band, organized June 1900
were Adolph Gifford, musical director; Edgar Stahl, president and manager; Will Pierrott, secretary; Gus Hampshire, treasurer;
founding membership was Otis Brown, Harry Hoffman, Edgar Stahl, Gus Hampshire, Dan Holland, Harry Freeman, Bernie Heller,
A.O. Elliott; Will Pierrott; Clarence Boyer; Adolph Gifford; H.B. Smith,; Charles Seitzburg; Irvin Albright.
Brothers Jazz Orchestra, about 1915-1922 (Lyle, Chester, Wayne King);
Lyle King, Director; Wayne King, clarinet, Speedy
Greenleaf, banjo & cello; Gertrude Bahwell (Mrs. Chet King), piano; Rhene Law, original drummer; Ben Eldridge & Lawrence
Morse, drums at different times; August Weise of Sabula, trombone; note: the original band might have been first called the
King Brothers Band and then later the King Brothers Jazz Orchestra.
American Legion Band, (Van Bibber-Hansen Post
Savanna Boys Band, Sept. 5, 1921-early 1930's (Reverend Bremicker, aka The Music Man)
Four (April, 1925 from Savanna Times Journal, played the Chestnut Park Dancehall and tickets were 75 cents.)
Troubadors: (formed December 1925) Miss Juanita Shipley, piano; George Lanning, cornet; Harold Brown, alto and soprano saxophone;
Charles Stitley, alto saxophone; Hurbert Williams, banjo; Charles Reese, drums.
The Weber Orchestra (Galena, Illinois)
Wayne King played for the Weber Orchestra sometime between 1917 and 1921. We need more research on the Weber Orchestra
of Galena, Illinois.
Steve Stevens Orchestra 1942-1947; (Paul Stevens Jr., trombone; Anita Stevens, cornet; Jennette
Truninger, piano; Danny Cottral, vocalist; Wade Law, drums; Dick Saltow, drums; John Hanson, trumpet; Bill Hawk, trumpet;
Lawrence Hiher, trumpet; Marvin Schreiner, tenor saxophone; Bob Mitchell, tenor saxophone & clarinet; Bobby Marth, alto
saxophone; Bob Kuntzelman, alto saxophone. Others included Frank Esposito and probably George Saltow. Theme song, 1942-1944;
"It's the Talk of the Town;" from 1946 to September, 1947 it was "Marie."
The Ralph Slade Orchestra 1934-1940's; Ralph
Slade, saxophone & clarinet; Art Isenhart, original piano; Lester Maurer, saxophone & clarinet; Charlie Vaccaro, bass
fiddle; Don Wilson, piano; Tommy Kindell, saxophone & clarinet; Paul Melendy, saxophone & clarinet; Jack Colebaugh,
trumpet; Lyle Meyers, trumpet; Don Yachik, drums.
According to Trumpeter/Saxophonist Bob Davis in April, 2000, as
from the Good Samaritan Nursing Home in Mount Carroll, IL, Ralph Slade and Art Isenhart were the most schooled
local musicians from the area during the big band era. Art Isenhart studied music at Francis Shimer College and at school
in Chicago. Ralph Slade studied under Rev. A Bremicker and performed on flag ships Capitol and Streckfus. I'll ask Bob Davis
again where else Ralph Slade received formal training in music.
Jack Cole Orchestra 1939-1940's;
Rhythms 1937-about 1944, Marvin Schreiner, leader & all saxophones and clarinet; Pianist C. Lyle Hamm; Bass Fiddler Frank
Esposito; Clarence Eaton; Don Hansen, piano; John Mirosh; Vernetta Homedew Near, John Hanson, trumpet); (Vernette Homedew
remembers playing high schools dances in 1937, 1938 before her grandmother made her quit because she was the only girl in
the band.); (Marvin Schreiner's sister Norma remembers that Marvin won his first saxophone, which was soprano, in a contest
at the Web Theatre during the mid-1930's in Savanna. Marvin Schreiner put together many five and six piece combos from the
1940's to the 1990's. Marvin, who lived in Savanna from 1922 until his death on December 25, 1997 was probably Savanna's most
recognized musician during the 20th century.
The Melody Boys or Had's Bunch early 1920's-1925
Changed the name
officially to The Merrymakers in 1925
The Merrymakers 1925-1930's; six to nine combo depending upon the engagement.
(Harry B. Grissinger, Lawrence Morse, Frank (Speedy) Greenleaf (banjo),
Luther Geisinger, Harry Gottis, Frank ???.
Pat Davis from Lanark, Bud Riddle and
Paul Melendy from Savanna and Roy Harstick from Hanover also played some with The
Harry B. Grissinger and Orchestra 1930's-45; three to eight piece depending upon the engagement. (Harry
B. Grissinger, saxophone, guitar, clarinet; Lawrence Morse, drums; Harry Gottis, piano Frank Espisito, bass fiddle; Art Isenhart,
piano; Bob Smith, drums; Luther Geisinger, saxophone & clarinet; Russell Drain, tenor saxophone; LaMoyne Philmlee, bass
fiddle; Others included Paul Melendy, alto saxophone, Bud Riddle, Tommy Kindell) Theme song: "Pretty Girls Like a Melody,"
sung by Lawrence Morse. The Merrymakers/Harry B. Grissinger has his own page on the menu of the homepage.
Super Six Synchopators 1931-1940's (Frank "Bud" Riddles's band) The VFW Club sponsored the Super Six during the later years
of the band. Band members were Frank "Bud" Riddle, tenor saxophone and clarinet; Edgar Harry, trombone; Harry Dailey, drums,
George Hanson, trumpet; Shorty Hale, drummer from Clinton, Iowa, and a banjo player from Shannon, Illinois. In April, 2000,
Bud Riddle recalled The Super Six playing The Terra Aqua dancehall in Freeport, Illinois. The dancehall was surrounded by
water. Frank "Bud" Riddle has his own page on the menu of the homepage.
Lute Geisinger Orchestra (Thomson, Illinois
late 1930's-1950's); Lute played flute, saxophone, and clarinet. Bob Davis in April, 2000 recalled that Mrs. Geisinger played
piano in the band and that the band probably had as many as seven members for larger engagements. Bob Davis also recalled
Lute Geisinger Orchestra members Trumpeter Emerson Sweeze from Clinton, Iowa, and Ozzie Stumbaugh, bass fiddle and tuba;
Blanche Mitchell, pianist from Hanover, Illinois. Lute Geisinger has his own page on the menu of the homepage.
Isenhart Orchestra from Mount Carroll, Illinois
Only known member so far was Art Fetterolf
The Irv Martindale
Orchestra early-mid 1930's; (Irv Martindale, violin; Mrs. Martindale piano; daughter guitar; son-in-law, drums; Paul Melendy,
alto saxophone. (Paul Melendy remembered in 1999 playing the dancehall at Wacker, Illinois in 1931.)
The Glen Law,
Kings of Rhythm 1918-1978; (Glen Law, alto saxophone & vocalist; Helen Law, organ; Anita Peschang Hanson, clarinet &
a few vocals; John Hanson, trumpet; Blendon Law, bass fiddle). Glen Law has his own page on the menu of the homepage.
Law and his Blendonaires; (dates uncertain but still plays.)
Roy Harstick Orchestra 1930's-1950's; (generally 7-pieces;
charts arranged by Allan Hammerstein) Roy Harstick has his own page on the menu of the homepage.
Harstick Band 1950's (usually 3 to 4 piece combos). Known members were Glen, his wife and someone named Iggleston.
Bertch's Square Dance Orchestra 1940's-1950's;
Charlie may have also had an orchestra he called "The Ridge Riders."
Bertsch, bass violin & violin; Murietta Gamble Haring, accordian; Lois Gamble Steffis, Hawiian Guitar; Ralph Bailey, bass
violin; Anita Peschang Hanson, clarinet plus several more.
Eddie Uhl and His Ranch Hands 1940's-1950's;
Smokey Valley Boys 1946-1952 (Wade Law, drums & some vocals; Louis Reusch, guitar & lead vocals; Ralph Bailey, bass
fiddle & some vocals; Jake Neusum, trumpet; Gene McLaine, trumpet; Bob Mitchell, clarinet & saxophone; Bill Ritchie,
clarinet; John Smolek, Jr. accordian; Frank Esposito, bass fiddle; Wayne Perkins.
Louis Reusch and Band (about 1952
The Rythem Four (Floyd Curley Bands 1940's-1975); Floyd Curley vocals, Hawiian steel guitar, acoustic &
electric guitar, piano, harmonica; Trumpeter Frosty Winters; Drummer Charles Straight; Saxophonist/Clarinetist Buddie Anderson;
Drummer Jimmy Straight, played with Floyd Curley after his father Charles Straight died in 1967.); (Not sure what the name
of Floyd Curley's bands were before about 1962. A Savanna Times Journal ad identifies the band as the Rythem Four in 1967.)
In the late 1930's & early 1940's Floyd Curley and his sister Bertha Curley (clarinet) played live radio in Freeport,
Illinois. During their grade school years, they entertained at country schools near Hanover, Illinois. In the early 1950's,
Floyd Curley was hired by the Red Fulley Show to perform a novelty act playing his harmonica and Hawiann Steel Guitar together.
The week after Floyd had been hired, the famed Red Fulley was forced to quit his show due to serious illness. In 1978, Floyd
Curley traveled to Nashville and cut four demo tracks at 33 rpm on a 7 inch disc. These recordings included "A Simple Melody,"
"Just Because," Whispering," and "Skirts." The Stevens Project possesses a 1969 or 1970 recording of the Rythem Four at the
dancehall upstairs in John Schedler's Tavern in downtown Savanna. The Steven's Project also possesses late 1960's audio recordings
made at home by Floyd Curley and his sister Florence Bearsley of Hanover, Illinois.
The Red Hinton Band
Gus Fuhrman Orchestra (???)
The Fat Dutchman, Preston, Iowa (plays horn, wife plays piano??);
The Blue Souls
1965-1967 or 1968 (rock-n-roll, Ty Kindell son of Tommy Kindell);
Lead Guitarist Tyson Stewart Kindell from Savanna, IL;
Bass Electric (Fender) Guitarist Marlyn "Rosco" Jones from Savanna, IL; Rhythm Guitarist Dan Hickman from north of Elizabeth,
IL; Drummer Charles Crisci (6 months) from Savanna, IL; Drummer Rick Snyder from Lena, IL; Lead Vocalist Ralph Jones from
Savanna, IL; The Blue Souls played some Savanna engagements but played mostly in Hanover, Elizabeth, Stockton, Galena, Illinois
and Dubuque, Iowa. They played approximately 40 songs. Some of these were songs made famous by the Beatles, The Kinks, The
Howies, Chuck Berry, The Association, The Yard Birds and the Rolling Stones. Some of the songs were Bus Stop, Pay You With
Interest, Can't Get No Satisfaction, Play With Fire, Carasel, Don't Let The Sun See You Crying, Born To Be Wild. They also
played the blues.
The Road Runners (rock-n-roll) mid-1960's to present.
Gary Goetz, Ramsey Mason,
of Gold (Marvin Schreiner (1970's-1997)
Main Avenue Jazz, Mount Carroll, Illinois (1990's?)
The Steven's Project possesses
a one hour 1996 recording where the Sounds of Gold joined with Main Avenue Jazz . Members that day were Trumpeter, Don Karol;
Clarinet and Saxophone Hal Whitmer; Saxophonist Marvin Schreiner; Trombonists Jerry Hartman and Bob Bullard; Bass Bill Lutz;
Drummer Jim McNee; Keyboard and Vocals Jan Varner.
Freddie Behen Orchestra 1940's-1950's (from around the Albany,
Joe Pole Orchestra 1940's-1950's (from around the Albany, IL area)
Identified Whiteside and Jackson County
The Tim Sheehan Orchestra (Clinton, Iowa)
Wayne King played for The Tim Sheehan Orchestra sometime 1917
and 1921. We need more research on The Tim Sheehan Orchestra. According Trumpeter Bob Davis 1912-2000, Wayne King took over
a band from Clinton, Iowa when the leader was ill. It was possibly the Tim Sheehan Orchestra.
The Dick Phelps Orchestra
1940's-1950's from Sterling, Illinois
Jimmy Bates is only known member at this time. According to Bob Davis the Dick Phelps
Orchestra made a recording in 1940.
The Larry Palmer Band, believed Sterling, Rock Falls Illinois area (1960's-1990's)
Pianist and Vocals Larry Palmer; Trombonist John Sunday; Saxophonist and Clarinetist Marvin Schreiner from Savanna, Illinois;
Bass Fiddle, guitar Aaron Johnson; Drummer Dick Synder. Note the project possesses a copy of the August 31, 1968 engagement
recorded at the Rock River Country Club. This 1 hour recording was provided by Mrs. Jan Schreiner of Savanna, Illinois in
April, 2000, Trumpeter/Saxophonist Bob Davis stated he remembers Harry Gottis as a Ragtime style piano
player. Mr. Davis also indicated that Art Isenhart was the most schooled and the best pianist from the entire area. Bob Davis
left Savanna during the 1940's to make a living solely as musician for more than a decade playing as a trumpeter and saxophonist
in many bands in Chicago. He purchased a home and lived in Maywood, IL during these years. During the 1940's he knew famous
musicians who frequented Chicago establishments. He knew Trombonist and big band leader Jack Teagarten, Trumpeter and Band
Leader Louis Armstrong, Trumpeter and Band Leader Roy Eldridge. Bob Davis stated he decided to leave Savanna and live in Chicago
because he was influenced by the music played by black musicians. He often frequented and played in what were called "black
and tan" establishments in the Chicago area. Bob Davis's mother was a sister to Van Bibber of the Van Bibber-Hansen American
Legion Bands in Savanna, Illinois from the 1930's to the 1950's. Bob Davis was one of the music students of Reverend A. Bremicker
(The Music Man) from 1921 to the mid-1920's.
As a final note, Mr. Davis stated that he once had a considerable collection
memorabilia of his music career, but that it was lost during the 1950's when a moving van he hired veered off a bridge into
a river. Bob Davis was born February 16, 1912 and died November 15, 2000. When I last interviewed him in April 2000, he was
still very astute and possessed a clear memory. For example, Bob remembered that Wayne King once took over a band from Clinton,
Iowa when the bandleader became ill. This was before Wayne King moved to Chicago to attend Valparaiso University and begin
his professional career as a musician between 1920 and 1923.