September 28, 2022

The Eagles Band

 

Canal Days is fast approaching and one of the big events is the parade.  And what would a parade be without bands marching and playing?  From 1901 until 1971, one group that could always be counted on to participate in local parades was the Eagle’s Band. 

It was over 100 years ago, in 1901, when a group of 12 musicians got together and formed a band.  These charter members were John Tegenkamp, Charles Dunn, James Sevits, Amos Shibler, Jonas Good, Jacob Dienstberger, George Kindley, Andrew Manhart, Albert Shibler, W.E. Porter, Andrew Sendelbach and William G. Point.  At first they rehearsed at City Hall (now the police and fire stations building) , but later they rented a room in the Metzger Block at the NE corner of 2nd and Canal.  They called themselves the People’s Band, but changed their name to the Eagle’s Band in 1921 when the Eagles Lodge began providing the band a place to practice and store their equipment at 229 ½ N. Main above what was, until recently, Delphos Sporting Goods.

In addition to marching in local parades, the group marched in cities such as Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati. They also performed concerts as reported by the Delphos Herald on June 26, 1937: “The first night of the third annual Methodist Lawn Fete was a complete success according to an announcement made Friday morning by Rev. Joseph C. Richards, pastor of the church. Approximately 350 suppers were served by the Ladies Aid Society. The Delphos Eagles Band, under the direction of W. G. Point, rendered a pleasing concert which was enjoyed by all present.”  At these concerts, Bill Point, the director, entertained the crowds further by playing his trumpet with one hand and waving his baton with the other.  He did this for over 50 years, stepping down at the age of 82. 

In 1958, at the same time Bill Point handed over his baton to David Zoll, most of the other men followed suit, inviting a younger group of fellows to continue the tradition. Accepting the call were Donald Wiedeman, Tom Price, Bob Reed, Harry Wiley, Larry Orchard, Roger Stienecker and his son Denny, Ed Mox, Ronald Swonger. Watson Ley, Melvin Fryer, Carl Miller, Stanley Rockhold, Luciene Nuss, Ferman (Dutch) Klinger, William Simondinger, Gene Rice, Frankie Smith, Leslie Dienstberger, Bob Ervin, Carl Erickson, Pete Strayer, Fred Cunningham, Noel Miller, Charles Lanta, Dick Maher, Gene Wollenhaupt, Don Long, Melvin Wilkins, Tom Groves, Bill Foster. Carl Stopher.  Chris Wollenhaupt, Hershel Prine, Vern Truesdale, Neal Miller, and Norman Guyer.

Another venue for the band was the annual Fraternal Order of the Eagles national conventions.  Show business great, Jimmy Durante, was a life member of the Eagles and Doug Harter, who joined the group in the 1960’s, remembers Durante singing along with them on more than one occasion.  Harter also remembers marching in a parade to honor Neil Armstrong at Wapakoneta in 1969 after Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon.  Bob Hope was the marshall of the parade and the Eagle’s Band was the unit right behind him.

Although the band disbanded in 1971, Harter stored many items and recently donated them to the museum.  If you ventured down Main Street this spring, you might have seen them displayed in our windows.  They are no longer there, but are in a new display on our second floor.  Be sure to check them out the next time you visit the museum.  Our hours are Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m. and Thursday from nine to noon or by appointment. We will have extended hours during Canal Days.

 

Printed in the Delphos Herald September 14, 2013

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