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The Dr. Elmer Ray & Cora Maude Todd House (part 2)

The Molalla City Band

102 East Third Street
1912 – 1948
By Gail J. McCormick

The Molalla City Band was started in 1888 and reorganized in 1913.  The name was later changed to the Molalla Brass Band.  Dr. Todd played the saxophone in the popular band.  In the early 1900s, a large band hall was built in Molalla, where crowds gathered to hear the music and dance.  This building no longer stands.  The Band was also very popular in  local parades and held outside concerts.

In 1888, the original band members were:  Dr. John W. Thomas, F. H. Dungan, J. V. Harless, William Mackrell, Fred Kendall, Thomas G. Husbands, Walter Dibble, Frank Adams, J. M. Austin, George Adams, Morris Myers, Xavier Myers and Wayne Robbins.  John S. Dungan was elected instructor.  Their first public performance was held at a political rally.

The late Charles Hardy describes the band for us in his diary:  “Molalla had a brass band in an early day.  They played at the Fourth of July picnics and public gatherings.  They used a four horse team to take them places, usually driven by Joe Harless and a helper.  They had a wagon with a long box on it built in much the same shape as a half moon and somewhat high on both ends  and low in the middle; big enough for all the band and drivers to ride in. The band consisted of about ten (to 22) men.  It was a  pretty sight when they were all loaded and four nice horses to pull them.  Their brass horns shone up real nice along with their big drum and with the horses decorated with flags on Fourth of July occasions.”

In June of 1923, the director was O. K. Cole.  Fred Bruce, H. H. Chingren and Derb Renhard played the clarinet.  Edwin Eyman, Alvin Purdue, Earl Nauertz, Willis Dunton and R. Garrett played the Cornet.   George Blatchford, E.R. Todd and Walter Taylor played the saxophone.  H. S. Harvey and Roscoe Hibbard played the trombone.  William Mackrell and I. F. Bradley played the drums.  The band male quartette included Roscoe Hibbard, H. H. Chindgren, Derb Renhard and A. B. Chindgren.  The band ladies quartette included Ida Kernon, Mae Hull, Effie Newman and Agnes Clifford.  Agnes Clifford also sang solo.   Oscar Franklin and Burrel Cole were altos.  Fred Eyman and Pete Kylo were baritones.  A. B. Chindgren and L. J. Little were bass.  Over time, other people who were in the band included:  Fred Bruce, Eskil Renhard, Don Bauer, Jack Cole,  Willis Dunton,  George Blatchford, Charles Kent, Ben Chindgren, Les Little and Paul Robbins.

Photo Gallery


"Molalla Band", Charles Hardy Diary, Our Proud Past, V. I, Hardback, 1992, By Gail J. McCormick, Page 217
"Molalla Brass Band", Images of America: Molalla, by Judith Sanders Chapman & Lois Helvey E. Ray, 2008, Pages 110 & 111
"Molalla City Band Founded in 1888 & Reorganized in 1913", Bulletin, September 20, 1978

© Gail J. McCormick, 2019

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