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Thursday December 12, 1985


Pix #1 - Jack Wainwright's only living brother, Ernest, assisted his niece, Betty (Wainwright) Palmer, at the ribbon-cutting ceremonies in May of 1980 when the Wainwright Memorial Amphitheatre was dedicated at Meadowlark Park, in photo above. It is not know if he is still living. At right is Dr. R.A. Palmer, son-in-law of Jack Wainwright, who was present at the ceremonies.

Author's Note: This is the second in a seried of two articles about Jack Wainwright's Fostoria High School band, written by Myron Leibengood, one of its early members.

In an exchange of coorespondence with Leibengood, I asked him if a record had been kept of members of Wainwright's early band and how many were still living and/or dead. His reply was, "Not to my knowledge".

It would probably be easier to list those living, instead of dead, which I have done to the best of my the end of this article. Please let me know of other living band members.

By Myron Leibengood

Jack Wainwright formed the first all Ohio state band of 100 pieces. We practiced and played a concert in old Memorial Hall at Columbus. Those from our band who made the trip with jack were Arving Harrold, Dan Warren, Park Burtscher and myself. I believe this was the beginning of the big Ohio State Fair band that Jack directed at its formation.

Several years later when we both lived in Columbus, Harold Hartley and I went to the Ohio State Fair. As we walked past the grandstand, Jack Wainwright came out with a gentleman. He saw us and grabbed us like two lost souls and told this man that we were two of his old band boys. Then he introduced us. It was John Phillip sousa. He was a guest conductor at the fair that day. What an unforgettable moment!

You have already read in your band articles where some 30 members of the band became members of the 107th Cavalry Bank, which meant two weeks at Camp Perry every summer for three years. Quite an experience.


Then there was the Chautauqua Band that Jack decided he wanted. He picked 30 members and we started rehearsal after school was out. We played a concert at the Chautauqua in Kenton and one other town, I can't remember. This idea was cut out as everyone started to gripe as it all being just too much for what was supposed to be vacation time. This was not all the playing that had to be done as we were this time well aware of the usual schedule.

The FHS Band played in the following festivals: Greenville, two days, parade at fairgrounds; Bucyrus, two days, parade, concerts on the square; Lima Rotarian Convention, two days, parade, concert; Oberlin, two days, parade, concert; Willard, one day; and Old Fort and Attica, one day each.

We also played concerts at Columbia High School, Tiffin; Town Hall, Bettsville; Opera House, Fremont; Chapel at Oberlin College; Gray Chapel at Ohio wesleyan; Delaware Hotel, Green Springs; and several times at Lakeside.

The band seemed to be the official band for all Fostoria fraternal groups. The band was at Camp Perry for one week for an encampment of the Woodman of the World. The band played for the Elks state convention at Sandusky and Cedar Point every year. This usually involved a parade and concert. Then there were the Masonic conclaves every year. While I was a member, we played the parades in Cincinnati, Toledo, Columbus, and Cleveland.

While we were at the Masonic Conclave in Cleveland, we were delayed quite late because of the inability to get right of way for the charter interurban. So we sat around some hotel until about 10 p.m. We finally reached the edge of Bellevue some time after 11 p.m. Someone got the idea to parade through Bellevue. So we did the full length of Maine Street curb to curb with the interurban following us. I don't think we ever played so loud. You would see lights come on from apartments, etc. Then we just got on the interurban and left. I bet those people really wondered what a band was doing parading about at that hour. Well, we thought it was so much fun we did the same thing when we to Clyde. However, I am not so sure about Fremont.


Because of the many different engagements we played, Jack decided it might be a good idea to have an orchestra within the band. Being the only person in the band who also played a violin, I got the assignment to put together an orchestra. The only other two people who did not play band instruments alone were Harold Hartley on piano and Dick Conley on banjo.

We filled in there as needed. Jack supplied us with a library of about a hundred tunes, dance and otherwise. We did play a few high school affairs such as the football-band banquet. we played a few pit jobs as needed in the auditorium for shows and at the offier's dance at Camp Perry. We played the Moose hall a cople of times on our own. Then we played the big band dance at Rosendale Hall for the visiting band members who were in town for the state band contest in Fostoria in 1924, which Fostoria won. They also won the state contest held in Akron in 1925.

This dance band, within the band, practived at the home of Bill Richards quite often at night. Bill Richards Sr. became so interested that he wanted a band of his own, so he took over Meadowbrook Park and put together the first Richards Band. The players were Bill and Jimmy Richards on trumpet; Guy Workman and later bob Myers on trombone; Bab Grubs on bass; Bid Kuhn on banjo; Bill Daub on drums; Roy Dean and Walter May on saxophones; M. Stickney (Tiffin) on fiddle; Ruth Frizzell on piano; and myself on fiddle and sax.

We played every night during the summer except Monday. When the winter months arrived, the size of the band was cut way down and it played in the Rosendale Hall on Friday nights. Jimmy Richards switched to saxophone and directed. This was really the start of the Richards Bank in 1924.


The following band members are still living: Ralph Sackett, Kenneth Hooper, Walter Bistow, Harold Cole; George Green, Charles Hunt, Joe Arnold, Orrin Carrel, Albert Clary, William Franke, James Carter, Ernie Duffield, Kelley Myers, Jurd Bayless, Jim Guernsey, George Gray, Jim Gray, Park Richards, Dick Schlatter, Willard Waddel, Russ Boyd, Lajoi Gregory, Carl Reidling, Hack Spooner, Jack Edwards, Clark Latshaw, Don Jacobs, Minick, Line and Blassengame.

There were no girls in the early FHS bands, but there were later. And at one time, a girls band was formed.

Mrs. Jack Wainwright is still living in the rural area of Indiana. I have her address if anyone wished it. She has never seen the memorial to Jack at Meadowlark Park. Her health is not good.

The Wainwrights' daughter Betty (Wainwright) Palmer, and her husband Dr. R.A. Palmer, live in Seattle. She continues her interest in music as a harpist. Her husband was a Fostoria boy whose father was also a doctor. Photos were taken at the Wainwright memorial dedication.

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