In appreciation, and
as a loving tribute to the art of music and to the talent in Equality, these
few pages have been prepared.
That these facts may
be preserved and that they may be handed down through the years as a part of
the town's History is the express wish of the writer.
[signed] Ida B. Coyle
For many years Equality has been
recognized as having more musical talent than any of the small towns in this
part of the country. Music in Equality,
no doubt, dates back to the very
early days, for we cannot even imagine the town being without good voices,
band, orchestras and other musical organizations.
The first band was organized in
the year 1878 by Charles Stein, with the following charter members: George W.
Moore, C.C. Smith, Charles Stein, Fritz Wiedemann, William Miller, Dan Helm, a
Mr. Whitney, Marshall R. Moore, Mac. Baldwin, James Windsor and William Clark.
They had as an instructor, Mr. Gene Sisson.
After eight months of hard and
tireless practice this band participated in a three-corner contest at Galatia,
Illinois, embracing McLeansboro, Harrisburg and Equality. The result
contest was the carrying away off of first honors by the
Equality Band ., The first prize being a fine silver plated E Flat
This gave the band ready
a short time afterward they were asked to play
for the first fair held in Eldorado.
Their second engagement was to
furnish music for the McLeansboro Fair. This band was active and though the
organization suffered many changes and losses, new blood was added and it
remained in existence until a few years before the
present Home Band was
organized in 1904.
Equality had known a number of
able teachers of music. Among those of earlier days are Mrs. Ed. Dupler, who
was a teacher [Page 2] of both piano and voice and was a singer of
ability. Mrs. T. B. Guard will always have a place in our memories, both
for her beautiful voice and for her ability as a teacher. She filled the place
as organist at the Presbyterian Church for a number of years, and appeared as a
soloist in all the better programs presented in this and other nearby towns
during her life time.
Mrs. Ella I. Strickland, Mrs. May
Smith Burtis, Mrs. Kate Adams-Stein and Mrs. Cliff McHenry-Taber were all good
teachers of music in Equality for a number of years.
Mrs. A.C. Rodgers is another of
Equality's former musicians, who besides being a musician and a teacher of
music, was the mother of a large family, all of whom are credited musicians.
Mrs. E. R. Beverly is a member of
this family and has the distinction of having instructed more pupils than any
one in the town.
Mrs. Beverly began teacher music when only sixteen
years of age, when she rode horse-back three miles, three times each
week to reach her first pupil -- Emma Nave -- for which she received the sum
of five dollars per term of twenty-four lessons.
this that time
she has instructed more than 150 pupils in the town. Mrs. Beverly has taught
pupils on most every instrument, with the exception of the banjo, and has
organized and conducted orchestras and other musical clubs, among both the
young and older people of Equality.
The town has had
a number of splendid orchestras. The Moore-Smith Orchestra with George W. Moore
as director, was one of the first and best musical organizations the town, ever
had has known.
Since that time Equality has not
been without one or more orchestras and at one time -- just before the World
the town [page 4] could boast of five complete orchestras and two
The Equality Home Band was
organized in the fall of 1904 with eighteen charter members. They were Earl
Helm, Al. Beltz, Matt. Wathen, D.W. Grimes, Henry Baldwin, Victor Pearce, A.C.
Pickering, Jess Turner, Frank Flanders, O.C. Breeze, Orval Purcell, James
McLain, E.V. Baldwin, J.C. Coyle, C.O. Dempsey, Carl W. Wright, James Dixon and
Roland McHenry - - - - Mr. Marshall R. Moore was their first instructor and was
an ever faithful member until his death.
The Band has known a number of
directors since. Those remembered are J.B. Smith, Harry G. Moore, Victor
Pearce, Lee A. Stader and Guy E. Malin.
This Band was organized at the
suggestion of J.C. Coyle following a visit of the Carrier Mills Band which was
engaged to furnish music for the first Equality Industrial Exposition, in
(1904). No doubt the bright red uniforms and shiny brass instruments did much
to arouse the enthusiasm of the citizens and to promote the idea.
It is interesting to know that one
year from the date of the organization of this band, only nine of the original
eighteen members remained, but the membership still remained eighteen or more.
The Band's first public appearance
was on the following March 17th when a musical program was rendered at the
Turner Opera House, and we are happy to remember that it was a full house that
greeted the new organization on this St. Patrick's Day.
Since that time St. Patrick's Day
virtually belonged [Page 4] to the Equality Home Band and a number of splendid
programs have were been presented on that date.
The Band became connected federated
with the American Federation of Musicians about
the year 1912 , and
has since remained a Union Band. This organization reached its height just
before the war when there were twenty-seven members. The Service Flag displayed
but fifteen starts, which left the band rather small, however,
some younger members were added and all during the war this band did splendid
work playing for Red Cross and Liberty Loan drives and escorting groups of the
boys on their leave-taking in this and in adjoining counties.
Equality Home Band has
filled engagements far and near. The most distant and probably the most
interesting and enjoyable trip was in May 1907 when the Band was invited by
Captain Chrider of the "J.B. Richardson" to be his guests on an eight
day boat excursion on the Ohio River from Shawneetown to Nashville, Tennessee
and return. This date has been marked in red letters on the band's calendar.
An orchestra known as the Red
Cross Orchestra also did good work during the war period. It appeared on a
number of programs in the interest of the cause.
Of the eighteen
charter members of the equality Home Band only three remain with the
organization. They are Earl Helm, James C. Coyle and Victor Pearce. But
Equality still has one of the best bands in this part of State.
The management was quick to take
advantage of a law passed
two years ago by the Legislature granting a
vote of a tax of not exceeding two mills for the maintenance of municipal bands
in the [Page 5] State. This measure was voted upon at the following spring
election and carried. Thus showing the interest of the people.
All of our churches have at all
times supported good choirs.
Perhaps Mrs. Pet. M. Turner and
Victor Pearce have sung for more funerals than any others in the town.
Equality has had from time to time
a number of good quartets. Among those appearing in the earlier quartets were
Mr. And Mrs. J.B. Smith, Dr. Frank Jones, Mrs. Geo. Helm, Mr. A. J. Sisk, Mr.
E. G. Wathen, Mrs. C. H. Davis, Mrs. Plummer (who was formerly Miss Minnie
Turner), Mr. and Mrs. C. W. Turner and Mr. Victor Pearce.
A Ladies' Quartet named by Mr. C.
W. Turner "THE BROWN EYED QUARTET" stands out as one of the best.
Members of this quartet were Isla Guard, Mabel Pearce, Margureite Coyle and
Mrs. Pet M. Turner. Special mention is here made of Isla Guard who is now Mrs.
Bord of Berkley, California, Isla G. [name unrecognizable] of Los
[unreadable], as being a musician of rare ability both as a pianist and
singer. Mrs. DeBord She is a graduate from a number of schools of music
and is also a graduate of the University of California. She has a voice of
unusual sweetness, and many are the delightful programs on which she appeared
both as a soloist and in other musical roles. She has taught both bands and
orchestras since moving to California, and still does.
Mrs. Turner has a contralto voice
of unusual beauty, unequaled in this part of the country. Mr. Turner often
spoke of the musical quality of the Brown Eyed Quartet and said, had his health
permitted, he would have liked nothing better than to have accompanied them on
Another quartet having delighted a
number of audiences,
and which is deserving of mention was the boys'
quartet composed of John Brewner, Ray Colye, Arch Wathen and Leonard Wathen.
The town has always excelled in
the number of good male voices.
Mr. John Burtis* [footnote: Mr. Burtis
died July 29, 1922], E. G. Wathen, Dan Jones, Dr. Herbert Ferrell, J.E. Brannon
and Frank White are among those whose bass is very good.
Victor Pearce, as a tenor, leads
as a singer and musician and is considered one of the best musical critics the
town has had
known. He knows good music and knows how to
Eugene A. Turner
is also worthy
of mention as a singer, having delighted his hearers on many a
number of occasions. Mr. Turner's His whistling solos have
always been a source of enjoyment. On many programs he Mr. Turner has done
was his own accompanying accompanist.
Arthur Smith and Burtis Montgomery
are former tenors of note, both having appeared in vocal parts with the
Equality Home Band.
Here we will mention Cedric
Wathen, whose memory we cherish on account of his ability as a fine
singer and his always willing ness to appear on any program for
any occasion. He perhaps was more appreciated and has delighted his
listeners more times in his short life than any of our younger singers.
Ray Coyle is another of our young
men who has appeared as a tenor in numerous programs
in later years.
in Public School
Music was introduced in the Public
School of Equality in 1910. The first instructor
employed was Miss
Winefred Fouts, who later became Mrs. Lee A Stader. ---- Mrs. Stader excelled
not [Page 7] only as a singer and teacher of music, but she was also an
accomplished instructor of painting and other arts and one of the best
musicians Equality has known.
The town and school surely took
a backward step when they allowed music and art to be dropped from the curriculum
of the Public School. We feel sure that the patrons and the Board of Education
have realized this fact, and music was again made a study in the school term
at the beginning of the 1928-29 term with Miss Neva
McLain, one of Equality's own girls, as teacher.
Through the efforts of the
Parent-Teachers Association a new piano was placed in the school a short time
before, which, no doubt proved the direct incentive to this worth while move.
Miss Mildred Smith stands apart as
one of the best instructors of music the High School has had
She too, was is an excellent singer, having a beautiful soprano
Miss Smith is also loved for
her interest and willingness to assist in community affairs and the results of
her school work stands as proof of her ability as a teacher.
interesting in so
small a place to note the number of whole families that have unusual musical
talent. Here we record the George W. Moore family, the C.C. Smith family who
five sons were musicians, the C.A. Guard family, whose six children are all
musicians of note. All five of the Guard brothers have appeared in concerts
with the Equality Home Band. (And I am especially proud of my own four boys
who have been members of this Band.)
Guy and Alma Malin are among
Equality's present day musicians and are almost indispensable as no musical
program is complete without them.
Mr. Malin is a soloist of violin
and cornet and for several years he has been the leader of the Home Band. He is
also the organizer and director of the Egyptian Aces, a well known dance
Miss Malin is exceptionally good
in orchestra and as an accompanist.
MAKING GOOD IN THE
Of Equality's musicians who have
gone out into the world and are making good in a musical way, we recall Mrs.
Isla Guard De Bord, Lawrence Guard, who has played with a number of leading
orchestras of the country such as Paul Whitemen's Orchestra and The Victor
Recording Orchestra. Lawrence is now a member of an orchestra distinguished for
having played at the Inaugural Ceremonies of President Hoover.
Lee A. Stader, who for some years
was director of a symphony orchestra in Pontiac, Michigan
and who now
has an orchestra of his own; Geo. W. Moore Jr. who commands a good salary for
his services with one of the big orchestras in Los Angeles, California; Virgil
Coyle, who entered the service of the United States Army as a first class
musician and played with one of the leading Military Bands of the country for almost
six years; James McLain, now playing with the Detroit Wolverine Band and who
frequently [Page 9] assists the 182nd Michigan Artillery Band in parades and
concerts; John E. Ferrell who for a number of years has been a member of the
St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.
Kelly and Murray Smith
are connected with the Stewart-Warner Radio Station (WBBM) in Chicago , Ill.
The former is manager of the station and a violinist of note. He was also on
the Chautauqua platform as a musician for a number of years, employed by one of
the best Chautauqua Companies.
Murray Smith is a member of the
entertainment staff of the Stewart-Warner Station. He sings and plays the
Newell and Charlie Wiedemann,
members of the Equality Home Band, are now residents of Beaumont,
Texas. The former was the organizer of the first High School Band in Equality,
the latter conducting the first High School Orchestra. Later, while in the
service of Uncle Sam's great Army during the World War, both
distinguished themselves as members of the 334th Field Artillery Band. Charles
Wiedemann serving served in the capacity of as Band Master
and Newell as Assistant Band Master.
This Band was selected from a
number of bands to tour France during the War, visiting all the larger cities.
Halton P. Siddall, one of
Equality's younger musicians, was a member of the famous Sousa's Navy Band an
was selected with twenty-one other members of the 100 piece organization to
a band to go to France during the World War. This band was stationed at
Brest, France, and was distinguished by being selected to lead the great parade
held in Paris following the signing of the Armistice.
Lonnie Brannon was another of the
Home Band boys who served [Page 10] as a musician overseas during the World
War. He was attached to the 81st Field Artillery Band. - - - For a number of
has played with the Carmi (Ill.) Band.
Mrs. May Smith Burtis, who plays
pipe organ in one of Chicago's largest theatres, and Mrs. Lela Rodgers Votaw,
playing pipe organ in a large theatre in Windber, Pennsylvania.
No doubt, on account of his talent
others musicians have been attracted to the town. Some to make their permanent
home and others to pass on after a time, but we may be truly proud of what
Equality has accomplished in a musical way.
We are assured by the results of
our recent meet and by this delightful program this evening that our young
people are carrying on and striving to uphold the high standard in music that
Equality has known so long. But we wonder, having lived our lives in such an
atmosphere, if we fully appreciate what we have. What we have gratis at all
times that many other much larger town pay good money to enjoy.
NOTE: This history was read by
Mrs. Coyle as a number on a program during National Music Week at the
Equality Township High School, Equality, Illinois, on the evening of Wednesday
May 8th 1929.
Webmaster's Notes and Genealogical
Information: The preceding text came from a photocopy of Mrs. Coyle's
presentation donated by Cindy. The text has been typed as it appears on the
photocopy of the original. Someone later edited the typed copy for publication,
such as in a newspaper. Text that appears in italics is what has been
added in that editing process. Text that has been
struck through is what
was marked for deletion in that process. Text within [brackets] has been added
in the process of developing the page for the Internet.
According to information submitted
by Cindy Pegg, Mrs. Coyle was her uncle's grandmother. Born on Feb. 3, 1876 to
Ferdinand and Barbara (Bennett) Brazier, Ida Brazier later married James
Charles Coyle, born on Oct. 17, 1873, to Charles and Sarah (Blake) Coyle.
Thirty-five years after her presentation in Equality, Mrs. Coyle died on May
17, 1964, ten years after her husband passed away on March 9, 1954. They had
four children: Anna Velma Coyle who married a Brewner, Virgil Blake Coyle,
James Raphal Coyle who married Elizabeth Marie Stapenhorst, and Lawrence Coyle.