Crescent City bands were 'cats meow'

May 15, 2007 12:00 am
The Crescent City Ladies Band in 1912. The photo was taken at the baseball grounds on August 26, 1912, at the Crescent City vs. Grants Pass baseball game. The band played three days and gave a Thursday night dance, playing until 3:30 a.m. They made $250 playing at the games, and $45 at the dance. (Photo submitted by The Del Norte County Historical Society.).
The Crescent City Ladies Band in 1912. The photo was taken at the baseball grounds on August 26, 1912, at the Crescent City vs. Grants Pass baseball game. The band played three days and gave a Thursday night dance, playing until 3:30 a.m. They made $250 playing at the games, and $45 at the dance. (Photo submitted by The Del Norte County Historical Society.).

Local bands and musical acts gave pizazz to Crescent City's culture with venues that lifted the spirits of the community.

"Bands were the cat's meow and an important aspect to the community," said Brian O'Callaghan, executive director of the Del Norte County Historical Society.

On November 17, 1917 the Crescent City Concert Band, an unincorporated association, was created.

The band had active members playing instruments and non-associate members, usually business people, that payed a fee for the privilege of sitting in on rehearsals and speaking at business meetings. The concert band was contracted to perform 12 concerts.

Visiting or local bands often performed at the bandstand, a gazebo on the beach at the foot of H Street. The bandstand succumbed to high tides in February 1937.

The Crescent City I.O.O.F. Drum Corps., a musical marching group, convened around 1940. The patriotic group was a force in the county.

Postal Clerk Cal Leete organized and directed the group. He served in the Army Signal Corps in WWI and in the Army band as an expert snare drummer.

The Crescent City I.O.O.F. Drum Corps. was comprised of volunteers with a variety of musical experience. Entire families joined the group. Men and boys became drummers and buglers, ladies were flag and standard bearers, and girls learned baton twirling and majorette routines.

The group's members came from cities ranging from Gold Beach, Ore., to Medford, Ore., to Eureka. They often marched in Klamath and were asked to march in several wartime drives materials such as for scrap iron and rubber.

The group was selected to lead a parade in San Francisco in 1941 to clamor a proposed secession from the U.S., but the events of Pearl Harbor on December 7 of that year prevented their participation.

Also in 1941, the men and boys left the group to join the military. In 1952, the group dissipated.

A four-block park or plaza once stood in the middle of downtown. The Crescent City Brass Band performed at the park.

The Crescent City Ladies band was formed around 1910 and also played at the park. The ladies performed at several marches and at the baseball grounds.

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