The U.S. Fourth Army Reunion Band

            While we were serving our country, and affecting lives without music through the FAB, we griped because of the interruption in our lives.  As young men, we did not appreciate our advantage.  But we endured and then returned home to pursue our dreams.  Today we have grown to appreciate the positive aspects of our time in service, and say “thank you” for the U.S. Fourth Army Band.  For many of us, the benefits of our service included the maturity we gained in our chosen profession, performing with the fine FAB ensembles and the concurrent opportunities.  Through our reunions we have come to know the same musicians as experienced adults and cherish the camaraderie.  The pleasure of annually performing with these fine professionals, and introducing our children, our students, and our community music colleagues, brings us together each year.  Area musicians are invited to augment our decreasing ranks in each city.  We enjoy the fellowship and the challenge of preparing the annual “love-fest” concerts each year to share with our host community as we offer a two and one-half hour free public concert.  The joy of music still unites members of the Fourth Army Band.

 

Finding Fab Members 35 Years Later

 

            The organizational meeting for FAB Reunions occurred in Columbia, South Carolina, Father’s Day 1987.  Howard and Zelia Bell, on an auto trip in the Southeast, visited their eldest daughter and family in Atlanta and were invited to stay with their college/FAB friends Gene and Janet Ferguson in Columbia.  Gene was a professor of voice at The University of South Carolina.  FABer Fred Teuber was on the same music faculty, teaching composition.  The six of us, including Fred’s wife Janet, met for brunch with the declared purpose to begin a list of names of those we could recall from our service with the FAB.  We also notated hometowns when remembered.  In the next several weeks Howard relied on the telephone service to give him two numbers with each inquiry.  Former members and parents were interested in helping locate others.  The project mushroomed and most were enthusiastic to attend a proposed FAB Reunion in Kansas City, Missouri, June, 1988.  Mr. McElwee was helpful and enthralled with the possibility of seeing and performing with “his boys” again.  The Dean of the School of Music, U.M.K.C., at the time was Dr. David Kuehn.  David and his charming wife Susan were close friends of the Bells and David approved the use of the air-conditioned White Recital Hall for rehearsals and the Concert, and unlimited use of instruments and equipment.  David was Howard Bell’s most advanced tuba student at Alamo Heights High School, San Antonio, in 1954 and 1955.  We secured a very reasonable rate from a new hotel in Westport and planned a “Pub Crawl”.  With these basics in place it was time to perform and party.

                  Fab Reunions

1988 - Kansas City, Mo.

2001 - Laughlin

2010 – Houston - Woodlands

1990 - San Antonio

2002 – Houston – Nassau Bay

2011 – Dallas - Mesquiite

1992 - New Orleans

2003 – San Antonio

2012 – Wimberly, Texas

1994 - Dallas

2004 – Branson, Mo.

2013 – Overland Park, Kan.

1996 - Houston

2005 – Corpus Christi

2014 – Houston – Spring Branch

1997 - San Antonio 

2006 – Bossier City-Shreveport

2015 – Dallas – Farmers Branch

1998 - San Antonio

2007 - Branson

2016 – San Antonio, Fort Sam

1999 - Laughlin, Nevada

2008 – Kansas City

2017 --

2000 - Dallas

2009 – San Antonio

2018 -

 

Kansas City - June 19-23, 1988

Hosts: Howard & Zelia Bell

As we all sat in the booths at Chili’s Restaurant talking excitedly and eating, radios were tuned to a special welcome to K.C. from the Classical station, KXTR. Andrew Yates, the host played fine band literature in our honor.  Andrew performed in the percussion section of the Concert Band and was elected to Honorary status. Jorge Valadez interviewed everyone with his tape recorder.  We toured places of interest, ate lunch at the K.C. Royals Stadium Club, toured the Truman Library and then to Lake Lotawana for boating, swimming and a cookout.  The temperature was 100 degrees but no one mentioned heat—we were too busy getting reacquainted.  The pontoon boat was busy with tours of the lake.  Good food prepared by the Bell Family—wonderful fellowship after an interlude of 35 years! After rediscovering our ensemble skills during rehearsals, we enjoyed the “Pub Crawl” in the evening.  We visited first an upstairs club, Harlings, featuring a keyboard performer who was pleased that our musicians joined in.  Andy Anderson, keyboard; Joe D’Gerolamo, fluegelhorn; Bill Kimple, tenor sax; Don Knapp, trumpet; and Jerry Loveall, trombone; brought their instruments, Gabe Solow scat-sang without vibes.  Great fun.  We enjoyed K.C. hickory-smoked barbecue at this stop.  Then we traveled south to a club that featured the Joe Cartright Trio—piano, bass and drums.  The bass player had just returned to K.C. after an extended gig in Denver.  Jorge Valadez (our bass player) could not believe the ability of this young man.  Up-beat tempos on some charts were amazing.  To complete the evening, we traveled to 18th and Vine where the many Black musicians have performed—the Black Musicians Union Hall.  They expected us and had two bands playing—one upstairs and the other down. Before long all were in the main area performing, including our jazzers.  Crowded, smoky, but marvelous. The three FAB Concerts at UMKC were a success.  “These old cats can still play,” announcer Don Burnes stated.  The Concert Band was conducted by Mr. Mac, five alums and three area university conductors.  Rule Beasley penned a new composition “Commemoration,” dedicated to Dawson McElwee and the ’88 Reunion.  Gene Ferguson sang a Puccini aria beautifully and the entire program was contrasting and very entertaining.  In the afternoon, the Jazz Band was a big hit with Andy Anderson’s “Let It Go” and Paris Rutherford (NTSU) sent a chart “Together” that was dedicated to the ’88 Reunion. Gershwin’s “Embraceable You” was another favorite. The String Ensemble performed a movement from a Handel Concerto and “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” under the direction of Arnold Schatz. The Pastels, the backup group for Vic Damone, were reunited: Gabe Solow, vibraphone; Andy Amato, accordion; Larry Gulino, clarinet; Jorge Valadez, bass and Jack Rumbley, drums.  Pleasant memories were revisited with “The Touch of Your Lips,” “S’Wonderful” and others. A ladies’ luncheon was held in the Rozelle Court at the Atkins Museum of Art.  Jack Rumbley did a fine job as master of ceremonies at the Banquet.  We showed slides of us as young men in the FAB in the early 50s.  Billy and Johanna Casey were praised for traveling from London, England.  Noted for being the most congenial couple were Jorge and Espie Valadez from Las Vegas. Joe D’Gerolamo arrived in K.C. wearing his U.S. Army dress blouse with emblem and stripes—one of only a few still able to fit in the military issue.  Someone commented that Jerry Loveall paid the ’88 Reunion a tribute by remaining to its end.  There were 94 participants present for the first FAB Reunion.

                                     Howard Bell

 
   

Music Selections from the reunion:

(X) “St. Thomas” – Rawlings-Solow, arr. – Jazz Band

(X) Show theme “Through the Years”- Jorge Valadez, arr. – Concert Band

 

San Antonio – June 23-26, 1990

Host:  Bev Moore

Pictured at the San Antonio River Center

Reunion Attendees: Ret. CWO Dawson & Mary McElwee, Ret. CWO John Parrott, Harlan Adamcik, Andy & Sarah Amato, Andy & Connie Anderson, Sam & Annette Attardo, Ed Ayola, Howard & Zelia Bell, Don & Marianne Burnes, Billy & Johanna Casey, Bob & Mary Chavez, Joe & Dianne D'Gerolamo, Norman & Pat Elliott, Charlie Fox, Al Gomez, Larry Gulino, Duncan Hale, Larry & Joan Haver with Matt & Andy, Ralph & Dorothy Huggins, Mac Jones, Bill Justice, Ralph & Carol Kimball, Bill & Patti Kimple, Bill & Muriel Kopecky, Ivan & Wanda Lankford, Bob & Pat Lavery, Jerry & Benita Lovell, Jose & Dottie Mendez, Bev & Fran Moore, Dave Nault, Fred Oldencott, Bob Parker, Beryl & Marjorie Pettigrew, Art & Janet Picou, Herman & Sandy Randolph, Art & Mary Ratley, Gary Rosenblatt, Arnold Schatz, Ron & Helen Shepard, Jack & Martha Smith, Al Tapia, Jervis & Carmen Underwood, Jorge & Espie Valadez, Morrie & Annette Waite, Gene & Nancy Watson and Duane Wickiser.  Honoraries: Louise Krochmal, Juanita Tampke, Gene & Mary McKinney, Jim Carroll and CWO Donald Barton. 

San Antonio 1990 Reunion Notes:

Bev and Fran Moore were our hosts for the second FAB Reunion.  We enjoyed a return visit to the Lone Star Brewery (we were guests in 1954), the San Jose Mission was fascinating as a Mariachi band performed a Mass, and we visited the Buckhorn Bar and Hall of Horns.  Ladies’ luncheons were enjoyed at La Villita and Los Patios.  Rehearsals were held at Cole High School on the Post.  The FAB Concert was played in the outdoor elements at River Center.  The USO was celebrating with a large group that became much of our audience.  The String Orchestra, led by Arnold Schatz performed works by Purcell, Strauss, Gershwin and Cole Porter.  The Jazz Band performed Andy Anderson’s new chart “Mac’s Back,” Joe D’Gerolamo was soloist on trumpet and fluegelhorn, and Bill Kimple and Jerry Loveall soloed on “After All My Love” by Bob Chavez.  The Concert Band led by Dawson McElwee presented a musical tribute to General I.D. White; CWO Donald Barton, leader of the 5th Army Band at Ft. Sam Houston, conducted and Gary Rosenblatt led “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” with FAB men singing.  Don Burnes did an outstanding job elaborating the history of the FAB and introducing all those in attendance.  Billy and Johanna again attended from London, England.  The Havers, Larry and Joan with sons Matt and Andy attended from Michigan.  Gene and Nancy Watson, from Nebraska, were enthusiastic to attend for the first time and Gene did a fine job recording the performance groups.  Retired First Sergeant Ralph Huggins made a brief appearance.  Juanita Tampke, widow of CWO Homer Tampke, made a lasting impression on all who met her.  She and Wanda Lankford served coffee and doughnuts at rehearsal break-time for the concert band.  Bob Farrar videotaped all segments of the reunion.  The individual interviews are notable,                                                 Howard Bell  

                                                                
                       

(X) “The Music Man” – Meredith Willson – Concert Band – Conducted by Beryl Pettigrew

 

            Living in the French Quarter was convenient for all events.  Dianne D’Gerolamo selected the fabulous Hotel Provincial (owned by relatives) with beautiful French décor in each unit.  We were three blocks from Café du Monde and Jackson Square.  Joe and Dianne D’Gerolamo, Art and Janet Picou and Subil Varisco were our gracious hosts.  The memorable meals we enjoyed were at the following restau-rants: Tujaques, Mulate’s, Bistro La Tour and ladies’ luncheons at Feliz’s and Bourbon Orleans. Ladies who attended the luncheons will recall Rose Mary Rumbley’s humorous talk at which she stated, “Today’s kids aren’t dumb, they just don’t know anything!”   The ladies’ walking tours were led by Dianne’s cousin Clancey to the Market and other sites.  The city-wide bus tour included Lake Ponchartrain, the Garden District and French Quarter.  Jack Rumbley delighted us with his wit as he MCd the Banquet.  Mr. Mac’s reminisces about experiences with the FAB were amusing.  Don Burnes conjured up interesting facts about our music and performers as he MCd the Concert.  The String Ensemble, led by Arnold Schatz, pleased the audience with a Haydn “Serenade” and “Old French Gavotte.”  The Jazz Band swung with Andy Anderson’s arrangement of “On A Wonderful Day” as with Joe D’Gerolamo’s chart “Sweet Lorraine.” “Funny Valentine” was memorable with Joe D playing fluegelhorn and Jerry Loveall on trombone.  The Concert Band was led by Mr. Mac as he conducted “Sinatra in Concert;” we enjoyed “Carnival Day in New Orleans” conducted by J. Dilkey; Bing Crosby conducted “Richard Rodgers Portrait;” Mr. Mac led his quintet in “Roaring 20s” and Beryl Pettigrew led the Reunion Singers and Band as they concluded the evening with “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”  The audiotape was prepared by Gene Watson, the videotape by Bob Farrar.  Sixty-one participants were present for our third FAB Reunion.  “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?”       Dianne D’Gerolamo & Howard Bell

 

(X) Bravura – C.E. Duble – Concert Band - Pete Cisneros, Conductor

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Overland Park, KS - June 22-25, 2013

 

Opening Ceremony: "Armed Forces: Pride of America"

 

Jazz Band:  "In The Mood" arr. Tyzek

   Alto Sax: Mike White; Tenor Sax: Bob Baldwin; Trumpet: Jay Sollenberger

 

Jazz Band:  "Stardust"   Larry Schmidt and Dwight Rhodes

 

Fort Sam Houston - October 28-30, 2016


Concert Band: "This Is the Army"  arr. Anderson


String Ensemble: "Eine Kleine Nachtmuzik - Allegro" W. A. Mozart