Band Logo


Marches and More Since 1884


"Salina has a band of which she may be proud.  It has already attained a degree of proficiency that commends it to the best wishes of the people and should command their patronage."

(Saline County Journal, May 25, 1871)

The Saline County Journal was a predecessor of the Salina Journal.  The same article makes reference to the members who were in the band and "the band has been decimated by the removal of some away, but it is being refilled to the maximum of nine."

The members of the Salina Brass Band at that time were:
R. A. Thompson, leader 1st Eb Cornet
N. Hausherr 2nd Eb
W. H. Johnson 1st Bb Cornet
S. Conrad 2nd Bb Cornet
J. R. Chapman 1st Alto Horn
J. H. Gibson Baritone
D. S. Dodds Tuber (Tuba)
A. A. Norton Side Drum
and M. S. Price Bass Drum

There are two names within the Salina Brass Band which might be recognizable.  They are W. H. (Wallace H.) Johnson, who established many newspapers across Kansas, including the Salina Journal and the Salina Republican, which later combined into the newspaper we are now familiar with.  At the time of his death at the age of 84 years in May of 1927, he was the oldest active Kansas editor.  Mr. Johnson was never politically inclined but was interested in the G.A.R. affairs as well as his newspaper - The Sun.

The other name is that of M. S. (Mathias S.) Price, an early settler of Saline County (1866).  He was a veteran of the Civil War.  He came to Saline County, Salina, and was a noted auctioneer throughout the area.  He too was active in G.A.R. affairs and just the day before his death at the age of 85 yrs. in Dec. 1913, he had delivered a welcoming address to a meeting of state auctioneers here in Salina.

Like that of any other town, Salina's Band history has gone through a definite and prescribed cycle.  It started out with a few scattered band organizations like the Salina Brass Band, also referred to in one article as the Frontier Band of Salina.  Unfortunately, too much time has passed and much of the history of that particular period is shrouded in obscurity.  By gleaning through old newspaper articles, books, and other records, of decades ago, we can come up with some ideas of what those early day band organizations were about, and especially when we see pictures of young men with full moustaches which parted over the brass mouthpiece.

Salina has a history of supporting many fine musical organizations.  During the growth of Salina and on into the development as a 1st and 2nd class city, there were denominational groups like the Liederkrantz Society and Germania; there were string bands; some bands were political in nature, and some were based upon the nationality of the players.  During the 1880's, there was mention of an Italian Band here in Salina that would play at various events.  It is unknown as to how often these groups would get together and play for the citizens of Salina, but it must be remembered that this was a time before radios, televisions, and movies.  Salina even had an Opera House which had many touring groups perform in it as well as those of the local kind.

As Salina was growing and developing, there was the need for a railroad.  Numerous articles mention that at these railroad meetings, the Salina Brass Band would entertain.  Time and time again the newspaper articles would mention something interesting about the "Boys". From newspaper clippings and other books, bands had only men in them and this continued up until the outbreak of The Second World War. (WW II)  Some communities did not want to let the womenfolk into the band so the organization simply folded.  Other communities simply lost the citizenry and were unable to support any kind of band.

Again from the Saline County Journal, June 19, 1884 - "The Band Boys are making fine progress and our citizens should encourage them by getting out at all their doings."  Again, by looking at the newspaper clippings, the band would have fund raising events different times throughout the year.  They would sponsor different forms of entertainment or give a special concert themselves to raise monies for the repair and upkeep of their equipment or for their uniforms.  September 4, 1884 - uniforms for the Salina Band arrived today.  Cost about $325.

Sometime during the year 1884, a youth group was formed and was known as the Salina Cadet Band.  It was under the direction of a Professor Egans.  Also, Walter H. Packard had come to Salina from Mendota, Illinois in 1883, joining the Germania Band. From that time on and for nearly twenty five years, he has been intimately connected with the development of several bands in the Salina community.  He has been aptly termed "the father of bands".  Mr. Packard was the son of the man who organized the Packard Piano Company, Fort Wayne, Indiana.  It is said that Walter H. Packard could play all of the common instruments.  At one time, the band was needing kettle drums or tympani - not having much money to buy them, he went to one of the local machine shops here in Salina and they made them according to his specifications.  He was able to form the Salina Cornet Band into a larger organization which became known as the Salina Military Band and had ties with the Kansas National Militia (now known as the National Guard).

From about 1885 until about 1900, there were three or more bands here in Salina, performing on a regular basis.  The Salina Military Band, the Columbian Band, the Dispatch Band, and remnants from other organizations - such as the Germania Band and others.  In 1895, these all came together through consolidation and the members realized if anything was going to be accomplished for the city, at large, a union must be affected in order to achieve a larger working organization.  There were between 25 and 40 members of this band.

Under the leadership of Mr. Packard, this band, the Salina Military Band became one of the leading bands in Kansas, ranking among the three best in Kansas!

Can you imagine being altogether dependent upon newspapers for information about the rest of the world?  That is how it was in 1898, when the Battleship Maine was sunk in Havana, Cuba, plunging the United States into war.  In May of that year 1898, saw a most touching and probably the most patriotic demonstrations in the history of Salina.  The city schools and colleges took a recess, and military troops were forming along Santa Fe Avenue.  The Salina Military Band led the parade followed by the Veterans of the Civil War in full uniform, followed by the young men who had volunteered to go to war.  More than 3,000 people followed along as the entire group made its way to the Rock Island Depot, where the train would take them to Camp Leedy just south of Topeka for their basic training.

One of the songs associated with the Spanish-American War is "A Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight". This song came about by some black children witnessing a fire in Old Town, Louisiana, several years before the outbreak of the war.  Theodore Metz, a noted bandleader of the McIntyre-Heath Minstrels, a group that performed at the Opera House here in Salina several times, overheard one of his minstrels say "there'll be a hot time in the Old Town tonight".  From that, Metz composed a stirring tune and it was used as a march in street parades.  During the Spanish-American War, the Rough Riders adopted it as their personal tune and thereafter, American soldiers would sing or hum the tune in anticipation of their joyous return home.

On Nov. 3, 1899, the returning members from the War arrived in Salina at 4:45 a.m. accompanied by the band, citizens and all the people sang lustily "A Hot Time In the Old Town Tonight"!

In 1900, a significant event for the development of the Salina Band occurred.  John Lill, a member of the Salina City Commission, and was also a piccolo player in the band, secured better advantages for the band, namely that the city would support the Band to the extent of $15 (fifteen) dollars a month, a sum not to be scoffed at in those days.  This was the first municipal support a band had ever had in this city and it was regarded as "somewhat of a triumph" from cultural point of view. Up until this time, there were band concerts that were held to support the band, and there was a Salina Merchants Association which from time to time took up fund drives to support the band. This was the first time that the City Commissioners did something in a way of publicly supporting the band.

In 1912, the band was officially organized under the name The Salina Municipal Band.

Through other Journal newspaper clippings, it was ascertained that Thomas S. Howell came to Salina from Emporia.  He organized and directed the Salina Boys Band or, as it became known "Howell's Jayhawker Boys Band".  The Boys Band is not to be confused with the Salina Military Band, as it was a separate unit having their own uniforms and instruments.  Howell, the band leader organized his group of youngsters ranging in age from 11 years to 18 years of age, in the Fall of 1913.  This band of 36, of which several names are still recognized in Salina today, Wilbur Valentine, Albert Holzmeister, Rudolph Morgenstern, Norris Tweedy, Lewis Merriman, Warren Hoover, Raymond Green and Harry Yoder played its first concert in the Spring of 1914.  Roy Bailey was editor of the Salina Journal and was also a great supporter of the Boys Band.  Mr. Bailey helped with the publicity of the Band as well as provided a place to rehearse, a room on an upper floor of the old Journal building as it was located on Iron Avenue.  This area is now a parking lot and located just East of the former Post Office Bldg. now the Smoky Hill Museum.

All of the bands throughout the city did lots of parading and providing music for events of all kinds.  Concerts were also given in surrounding towns besides entertaining the people of Salina.  Special trains were made up to take people to Minneapolis, or Solomon City, as it is known as Solomon today!  They would also go to Bavaria, Brookville, Gypsum, and as far away as Newton and Kansas City.  May 4, 1915, city supports Boys Band and they receive $50 a month.

Howell's Boys Band continued until about the mid 1920's, when Thomas Howell returned to Emporia and later to Parsons.

On July 19, 1918, Mrs. T. G. Cozine of 250 S. 11th St., developed an idea which also put Salina on the musical map!  She organized an all girls band which helped to keep the girls off the street.  The original group was composed of twenty girls and they presented many concerts to various organizations. On Nov. 14, 1918, the girls gave their first concert and had 40 members.

In the Spring of 1918, Salina voters decided for a band tax.  Up until that time, 1900 to 1918, the city of Salina had a written contract with the Salina Band.  The mayor and the council signed the document as had been prepared by the city attorney.

In January, 1922, a real saxophone band was organized by the director P. M. Richardson, seventeen members so far and they play to rehearse in the Shriners Bandroom in the Masonic Temple.

Howell's Boys Band was a feeder band getting young boys prepared to join the larder older bands of the day.  The "Kid" band allowed the younger boys to gain experience and then they graduated into the Municipal Band or the Shriner Bands.  In December of 1923, Thomas Howell resigned effective January 1, 1924.

C. F. (Charles "Frank") Lebow became the conductor of the Band in 1924.  Under his guidance from 1924 through 1936, many lives in this town were touched.  Mr. Lebow taught in the public school system for many years, as band and orchestra director at Salina High School.  At that time there were about 40 members in the band.  Rehearsals were held in a building about where the Salina Coffee House (Sunflower Restaurant Supplies) 115 N. 7th, was located.  During this particular time in the history of the band, concerts were held all year round.  In the winter months, concerts were given in Memorial Hall, and in the summer, at the band shell north of where the old Washington School building used to be (on Mulberry St. between 2nd and 3rd Sts.) known as City Park.  The bandshell was erected by the City in 1916 and was dedicated by a band festival, featuring five bands for the concert.

During the tenure of Mr. Lebow, the Kansas League of Municipal Bands came into being, through the efforts of several Salina men who recognized the importance of municipal bands.  Bands from about twelve surrounding towns belonged to the League.  Each town would host a convention during the late Spring or early summer months.  The bands would travel to the host town for the day of music.  The main streets would be blocked off and then the bands would perform individually.  At night, all of the groups would perform in one massed band concert.

A guest conductor was secured for the massed concert and many famous names in the band business were invited to attend.  Some of those guest conductors included: Karl L. King, who had been Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey's circus band director; Henry J. Fillmore; Edwin Franko Goldman; Fred Jewell; and Dr. Frank Simon, the last solo cornet player with Sousa's band.

The conductors baton shifted to Alfred "Al" Thompson, vocal music instructor at Salina High School from 1936 to 1939, and once again in 1941.

A change was made in 1939 to Harold "Chat" Chatelain from Fairbury, NE; and he was also rehired from 1942 to 1948.  Mr. Chatelain did not live in Salina but owned a music store in Fairbury as well as taught music in the high school.  He would drive from Fairbury to Salina for the rehearsal and concert, and during the off-time would give private music lessons in Salina.

During the year 1940, the Salina Municipal Band was directed by Charles W. "Chuck" Shedden.  During his short 34 years of life, Mr. Shedden left a distinct impression upon the community of Salina.  He did much to develop Salina musically.  He organized the Marymount College orchestra, the Sacred Heart band, and the Glee Club at St. John's Military Academy.  He directed the Legionettes, a band consisting of daughters of American Legion members.  Lieutenant Shedden was killed in action in the battle of Cherbourgh, France on June 23, 1944.  Charles W. "Chuck" Shedden will long be remembered for his valiant efforts.

Nial Voss Napier was next in line to stand on the conductors podium and he did so from 1946 until 1959.  Mr. Napier came to Salina from Ellsworth, where he had been a supervisor of music in the public school system from 1930 to 1952.  He received a Bachelor's degree in Music from Kansas State Teachers College, Emporia, and a Master's Degree in Music Education from North-Western University, Evanston, Illinois.  Mr. Napier had been an administrative official of Marymount College since 1947 as an instructor of music.  He was business manager in 1957 and elected treasurer of the college in 1968.  He retired from Marymount College on June 30, 1969 and passed away on Dec. 19, 1969 of a heart attack.

On March 19, 1959, Mr. John Sample was hired by the band to direct the Salina Municipal Band.  He was band director until March 3, 1960.  Mr. Sample resigned so as to go back to school to work on his Master's Degree.  John was Choral and Band director at Kansas Wesleyan University.

On the same date, March 3, 1960, Eric Stein was hired to schedule rehearsals and concerts.  Rehearsals were scheduled on Wednesday with concerts held on Thursday evenings in Sunset Park.

Eric Stein held the position of conductor for 44 years - longer than anyone in the history of the Band.  During his tenure, some changes were made over the years.  Concerts were given in Sunset Park until 1978, when the Municipal Band was given the opportunity to play in the recently built Gazebo.  Rehearsals were moved to Monday evenings with concerts held on Tuesday evenings.  Membership in the Band has grown from 30 to 60 members.

Eric Stein was many things to many people during the forty-four years as conductor of the Salina Municipal Band.  In April 2005, it was announced that Eric would not be returning to the podium.  The Board of Directors of the Salina Municipal Band began an almost immediate search for a new director.

Eric Stein had been a teacher, conductor, performer, clinician, music judge and a composer - to list just a few credits to his name. For many years Eric taught at Marymount College of Kansas until it closed in 1989.  He taught at Lindsborg's' Bethany College as well as at Kansas Wesleyan University.  Most of all, Eric was a friend to nearly anyone he met.

On June 18, 2005, the Board of the Salina Municipal Band announced that they had completed the search for a music director and announced the appointment of Mr. William F. McMosley to the position.

The Board along with Eric, met to review the applications for the position.  The Board voted to offer the position to Mr. McMosley.

At that time, Mr. McMosley was in his 7th year as Director of Bands at Kansas Wesleyan University and serves as chairperson of the Department of Music.  He has a wide variety of experiences in directing city bands as well as college and university bands.

1884 Salina Municipal Band - Celebrating the Past; Experiencing the Present; and Looking forward to the Future... 2009

Marches and More since 1884!

On May 13, 2017 the Board of the Salina Municipal Band announced the appointment of Mr. Tom Miles as Director.


The Saline County Journal - numerous articles and dates
The Salina Journal - numerous articles and dates
Book - CITY ON THE MOVE The Story of Salina, 1969 Ruby Phillips Bramwell
Index cards prepared from newspaper articles for above book
Collection of memorabilia from family of Earl Van Cleef, May 1984
Memorabilia, programs, ledgers as held in Archives, Salina Municipal Band 1884-2009
Kansas Wesleyan University - information on John Sample
Marymount College of Kansas Alumni Association - information on Nial Voss Napier and Eric Stein
Fairbury, Nebraska Public Library - obituary on Harold Chatelain
19th Century Active U.S. Bands (Kansas).
1998 Historical Exhibit in Topeka, KS.; They're Playing Our Song: Community Bands in Kansas
Salina Public Library, Kansas Room, microfilms, and more.


This work is dedicated -

To: the family and friends of Earl Van Cleef who started this project but didn't live to see it completed.

To: the members of the Salina Municipal Band past, present, and future...

To: my parents Michael C. and Eleo Beth Schneider-Brown, who have put up with my working all hours of the day and night-

It is done!

Jim Brown