Do not copy any of my artwork, poetry or photography without my permission.

Do not copy any of my artwork, poetry or photography without my permission.
....carpe diem. The Daylily. "Be like the flower, turn your face to the sun." Khalil Gibran. She gives her all for just one day then bows her head to God and fades away to nourish the next generation. God I pray I may give my all each day to honor you and bow my head at the end to nourish the next generation. Peggy Jones. NOTE............ Please folks do not copy any of my art or photos on my blog without my permission. Thank you for your good manners.

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Saturday, January 5, 2013

Sepia Saturday

Repasz Band and World War I1

by John L. Hunsinger

       When the U.S. entered World War I (WWI) in April 1917, many bandsmen from central Pennsylvania joined the Repasz Band, one of the oldest bands of its kind in continuous existence. The Repasz band had previously served in the Civil War (it played at the surrender of Lee to Grant at Appomatox) and as the band of the 12th Regiment of the National Guard of Pennsylvania (1903-1912). This enlarged Repasz Band split into two bands. The younger men were formed into the "Repasz War Band" in July of 1917, with the rest staying in the regular band.

       The "War Band" met for rehearsals two to three times a week and it was reported that "all are enthusiastic over the instructions they are receiving from John Hazel,2 who is working hard to perfect an efficient organization” (Grit, July 22, 1917). The band offered its services to Col. John Wood’s Pennsylvania Cavalry Regiment, but for reasons unknown it was not accepted. In September of 1917, 32 of the original 67 men who had volunteered for service were sent to the naval training center at Charlotte, New York. Repasz Band member S. M. Wachtel, who had recruited the band, served as its leader. John Hazel honored these men by writing the march Our Blue Jackets, with the dedication “to the Repasz volunteers in the World War."

       By October the band was stationed at Irondequoit, New York, and “was considered one of the best bands in the service” (Grit, October 21, 1917). It was later transferred to the Pelham Naval Station near New York City. The band toured the country appearing in recruiting drives and Liberty Loan campaigns. In March of 1918, Wachtel was promoted and made bandmaster over 12 regimental bands. In September of 1918, D. M. Gerry started to recruit members for a second Repasz War Band but the Armistice in November halted that effort.

       During this wartime period, the regular Repasz Band under Hazel, in addition to regular concert dates, participated in the large parades that were held to send the drafted men off to war and other wartime parades. One such parade in September 1917 to honor Lycoming County defenders had 6,000 participants. The “granddaddy” of all WWI parades, however, was the victory parade held on November 12, 1918. More than 10,000 people marched that day. The Repasz Band in blue and the Lycoming Foundry Band in gray merged to form the large Blue and Gray Band in honor of the occasion.


Article researched and written by John Hunsinger, local band historian,  for the Oct 21 1917 issue of The Grit in
Williamsburg ,PA

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Pondside said...

That was a lovely bit of local history that went national!

Pat transplanted to MN said...

That all sounds like some long forgotten but familiar history and having been raised in PA I was of course most interested. I wonder if the name "Repasz" comes from the Germanic settlers?

Karen S. said...

amazing, thanks for sharing a bit of history, and again not what I know very much about either! Your photo is great too!

Alan Burnett said...

Another example of Sepia Saturday posts providing a fascinating insight. It is the variety created by a simple photo prompt, it makes Sepia Saturday such a pleasure to participate in.

Wendy said...

Very interesting!

Postcardy said...

The victory parade must have been spectacular.

Tattered and Lost said...

Wonderful image with a lot of interesting faces. Many stories to be told.

Mike Brubaker said...

I've come across this band before but not read their history. Their caps seem different somehow from those of regular sailors. I looked up the Repasz band and found their website. They have a long history and I might be able to make some connections to the antique photos I have from this part of Pennsylvania.

Bob Scotney said...

Interesting story of the band with a great photo. Everyone looks so young to me.