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Drum and Bugle Corps
Nashville News
Nashville, Illinois
unknown date
courtesy of Jo House
History of Nashville's Drum and Bugle Corps
      Organization of Nashville's splendid new drum and bugle corps has meant the realization of a lifelong dream to Wm. H. Backs, sponsor of the city's latest and gayest civic venture. A boy's suppressed desire to study music, his fondness for the art that deepened through the years -- these are the factors behind the founding of the corps as told to local Rotarians by Mr. Backs last Thursday evening, when he appeared before the Rotary Club as its guest speaker.
      Having been invited to discuss the new project, Mr. Backs outlined in interesting and absorbing fashion the series of events that led to actual organization for the rhythmical outfit. Childhood days were recalled in all their humor, as well as the more serious moments of later years. But permeating the entire story was the speaker's obvious love for music that today has found expression in the drum and bugle corps.
      It seems that "Bill" as a lad in his early teens, developed a passionate yearning to play in the Nashville band, and consulted the town's renowned bandmaster, Wm. Wagner, as to how he could become a member of the group. The leader's suggestion seemed a simple one -- merely to speak to William's father about the purchase of an instrument for his son to play. But, alas! the elder Mr. Backs did not see fit to do so and disapointment (sic) was keen. However, this was only the beginning. At least it was just the start of a thought that ever afterward held full sway in the back of the youngster's mind, coming often to the foreground, particularly in recent times. As youth grew into man and a personal career in music was abandoned, the idea of organizing a civic entertainment group took form.
      Mr. Backs watched Legionnaire magazines carefully for ads where instruments were offered on account of drum and bugle corps breaking up. Several ads were answered, but always the price seemed beyond reach. Finally, Pinckneyville advertised. The first attempt to bargain the here failed, but a year later when the same town advertised again, an agreement was reached. The purchaser was somewhat despondent, to find the instruments he had obtained had all been taken apart and were in a bit of a mess.
      Then it was that two more characters entered the picture -- Gus Backs, brother of William, who became co-sponsor of the corps, and Wm. Vogt, who helped the two to recondition the broken down drums and bugles.
      Thereafter interested boys and girls were contacted and the first meeting was called. But there were not enough instruments to go round. Additional purchases at Mascoutah and a St. Louis pawnshop took care of this deficiency, however, and progress began.
      Besides buying the instruments, the Backs brothers also purchased the very lovely uniforms the corps members wear. So far each and every one of the members has taken excellent care of both the instruments and garments entrusted to them, thus dispelling the discouragement previously encountered by the sponsors when they would suggest their idea to either individuals or civic bodies. Those approached were prone to have a lack of confidence in the children, warning that they probably would lose the instruments or tear them up. But the Backs boys had faith, and to date it has been rewarded.
      To teach the children, what could be more natural than to procure the services of the admirable Rudie Brink? Time and effort he has given immeasurably. The Senior members pay 15 cents per week for their instruction and the Juniors, with less musical experience, 25 cents. This remunerates Mr. Brink for his time, the balance goes into the treasury. There are 88 participants in the two units.
      It is not right that Nashville should point with pride to her swinging, strutting drum and bugle corps, which performed so well on its first public appearance Labor day? Indeed. And to her sponsors? A bow and congratulations, and best wishes for future success.
      In addition to Wm. Backs' talk at Rotary, Gus Backs, as his partner in the venture, added a few remarks.

© 2015 Wayne Hinton
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