The parade had started and it looked like rain any time. We were leading the parade, and were two blocks from the end when a few drops of rain descended. Kermit saw an underpass next to the route and quickly moved the band under its protection. We stood in formation facing the parade and watched it go by. It did not rain, so Kermit moved us back into the parade, now almost over. Only two blocks to go, but it poured and all got very wet.

On a trip to Atlanta the route took us through St. Louis. All on the bus looked at the “arch” as we went by. After traveling for a while we again saw the “Arch”. All thought this strange, but made no comment. Soon, for the third time, the “arch” came into view. Several rushed forward to help the driver find his way out of St. Louis.

At a convention in Minneapolis, Al Hanna called the band to attention for inspection. We lost several “points” for things the judges thought wrong. Out flags were missing eagles on top of the poles. One member had his hands wrong “fingers curled under”. Who was this member? This member was Col. James Nash, the only member currently active in the military.

This picture was taken at an “Old Shawnee Town'”‘ concert. Later it was discovered hanging as an 8X10 in the lobby of Applebee’s restaurant located west of Neiman Rd. on Shawnee Park Way. When Betty and I were having dinner there I assured the waitress my dinner was free as my picture was in the lobby. Her answer was NO, the manager — backed her, with “there are NO free dinners”.

It was Memorial Day 1974. George Alter was the director of the Legion Band. We marched from 30th and Main down and around to the Liberty Memorial. We remained at attention in parade formation at the base of the “shaft” facing the audience. George Alter standing at the front line of the band was to turn and give the command “assembly”, at which time Malcolm Easterday was to blow the bugle call. Betty Easterday was playing cymbals in the percussion rank. At the proper time George turned and gave the command. CRASH—there was a very loud cymbal crash. Very startled Malcolm did the bugle call. The bass drummer turned to Betty and said, “why did you do that”? Betty replied “George said CYMBAL and I did”.


Playing games on the bus never stopped. One game Betty Easterday taught all members to play was called “in between” which required wagers to be made. One time when she lost all her money, she went up and down the aisle for donations. She wound up with more money than when she started.

The band had the Honor and duty as the only American Legion Band in Missouri to be the host band of the convention in St. Louis 2003, therefore was slated to march with the Missouri delegation near the end of the parade. The Massachusetts delegation wanted a band, so they offered to pay us if we would march with them. This would work time wise. The bus would pick us up by our hotel, which was two blocks short of the end of the parade route. Tom would lead us to the bus, which would take us to the beginning of the parade. Upon reaching this point, Tom signaled us to follow. Out of the crowd came a gruff parade marshal, determined that the band would not leave the parade route. Tom would not give, and you don’t stop a band once it is moving toward its objective. Upon reaching the start, the Missouri delegation was gone. The bus drove on to the parade route until we reached the end of the parade where we quickly formed and finished the parade, passing the unhappy parade marshal to the designated “end of the parade” sign.

Anaheim California 1999, Judith Perlman, Kermit and Joann Harper, Belinda Johnson and Nalleyn Jones met at the elevator on the 9th floor of the hotel ready for competition. Each floor added more and more people. At the main floor it did not stop, the door would not open. The emergency phone connected with the elevator service, not the hotel. The elevator was a glass enclosed outside type, now very hot with jammed people and five band members in wool uniforms, so packed that coats could not be removed. They watched as the rest of the band across the street formed to compete. Nalleyn tried taping on the glass without success, only one passenger panicked. After 30 minutes someone came and pried open the door. The contest was delayed until the members arrived. The result was the Kansas City Band took first place.


At the Denver convention the wives would ride the bus to the start of the parade, then the bus would go to the end of the parade and pick up the band. The wives would sight see the stores and follow the parade and also meet the bus. The leader of the wives lost direction and went the wrong way. At the bus pick up point there were no wives. Since no one knew where they were, we could not send someone to hunt. Should the wives show up, then they would be missing. After about an hour the wives showed up. It was a quite ride back to the hotel.

Until 1975 competition at national required each band to perform marching maneuvers on a near by football field, then play the concert competition. The total score then determined the winning band. The scoring on the marching portion was a negative score. Zero was perfect or no mistakes. We received plenty of points on spacing, straight lines, out of step, etc.

Here are a few of the more rare mistakes.
On a counter march the drum major turns and goes through the band, the band continues until he blows the whistle, then they turn. This time the drum major forgot to blow the whistle and the band continued off the field. [many points]

If something is dropped it must not be picked up, the person dropping something must pretend it did not happen and continue. A snare drummer dropped a drum stick and could not resist stooping and picking it up. [many points]

Again, on a counter march the front rank turned, but— one trombone player turned the wrong way and met the oncoming rank face to face. The oncoming person was Steve House, causing him to loose his trombone slide. [many points + a bent slide]

Another source of points was “inspection” The inspection was the first thing, all lined up and the judge after inspecting the drum major would walk down the front side looking at each person then down the back side. Crooked hat buttons would get a half point, fingers in wrong position one point. Shoes not polished always received another point.

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