COBWEB CORNERS: Colorado City gets a band
By Mel McFarland
In the early 1890s Colorado City lacked something that many towns in the West enjoyed - a brass band. As the subject became more and more a topic of conversation, a public meeting was called and on June 12, 1894, a band was organized, though not yet with an official name. Surprisingly, it developed into one of the best musical organizations in the West. On May 8, 1895, the band gave its first public concert.
Among the first members of the Colorado City ensemble, I bet there might be some familiar names: Al Newberry, Julius F. Falk, H.I. Shantz, S.O. Lynn, T.W. Brand, J.H. Kelly, W. Kahl, Elmer Kendall, Charles Magnussun and Walter Clark. Carl Leffler was the band leader. Howard Creebough was prevailed upon to be its conductor, but he held that position only a short time, followed by George Stuart for nearly two years.
One evening in May 1896, after an enjoyable rehearsal, a few of the enthusiasts remained in the rehearsal room to talk over band matters. The membership had then passed the 20 mark and more uniforms were necessary. This was when they decided to ask the Midland Railroad to sponsor the band. The Midland thought it was a great idea because towns and railroads all over the country at that time were doing that; plus, the band members were nearly all Midland employees.
The group decided to use the Colorado Midland's emblem: the Ute Indian, The band uniform consisted of a regulation Indian headdress, buckskin suit, moccasins, hunting shirt, and pantaloons fringed with red velvet. Sioux Indians on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota Sioux made the headdress, while a Ute artist from Grand Junction applied the stripes of paint which ornamented the faces of the musicians in truly Indian style. Drum major W.H. Bosworth was a striking feature. At 6- feet-6 and 220 pounds, he stood over 8 feet tall in his headgear, and he marched with a long Indian spear and a tall Colorado Midland Indian shield.
Next time: More on the group's history.