by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
According to the 1949 Treasure Chest Yearbook, the Grain Valley High School Band, under the direction of Mr. Phil Turner, had a membership of 28 including the Drum Majorette, Virginia Tate. During the year they made several appearances. One of the most memorable ones was the Appreciation Concert in which the new uniforms were shown for the first time.
1948-49 Band in Formation. Photo credit: Grain Valley Historical Society
Prior to these uniforms, the band performed in black slacks and long-sleeved white dress shirts. For marching in parades, a cape and hat were added. As is evidenced by the photo, matching shoes were not a luxury the students could afford. The formation is on the gymnasium floor in the 1926 school building.
Note the double row of theatre style wooden chairs along the west wall. The stage was on the East wall. The gym also had a balcony with chairs along the west wall and benches on the ends.
1954-55 Band as they appeared in the Treasurer Chest. Photo credit: Grain Valley Historical Society
By 1955 the band still had only 28 members, however they also had a Drum Majorette and two baton twirlers for football games and parades. The six-year-old band uniforms were still being used. Mrs. Barbara Starke became the music teacher in 1951. She was followed by Mr. Toll, Mrs. Barbara Murry (1957-59) and Miss Karen Smith. Mr. Moyer became the band director in the fall of 1961. We still had only about 30 members in band. AND WE STILL HAD THOSE 1949 UNIFORMS.
My brother talked about going with Mrs. Murry and Bill Newton (a fellow student) to Lone Jack to borrow 6 uniforms so they would have enough for the Homecoming Parade. Their uniforms were slightly different, but at least they were blue and white. He particularly remembered that Mrs. Murry stopped at the Tarsney Store and bought them both a bottle of pop for going with her! It was 5-cents! I also remember borrowing uniforms from Lone Jack a year or two later. And I recall that one year the school was able to purchase a few new “used” uniforms from Grandview High School. We were required to furnish our own white gloves and black band shoes which we purchased at J. C. Penney’s.
I cannot tell you when the band finally got new uniforms, but let me assure you, it was not too soon!