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                  Music has played a  large role in Mt. Pulaski 

from the mid-1800's onward.  The town has had a long tradition of quality music, which initially was due in large measure to the influx of immigrants from Europe who brought along their music traditions ... their brass instruments, their voices, their music appreciation.  These bands and vocal groups have performed both locally and throughout the state.  The Bloomington Pantagraph reported that a Mount Pulaski Brass Band performed at the Republican Rally in Atlanta's Union Hall in October, 1856, where Abraham Lincoln gave an "eloquent" address in support of Col. Fremont for the Presidency of the United States.   On June 10, 1869, The Logan County Civil War Monument was dedicated, with Gov. Richard J. Oglesby as the main speaker. The brass band from nearby Mt. Pulaski was on hand to play that day. 
Over the years, the Mount Pulaski High School bands have brought back numerous district and state sweepstakes trophies.  The 1st lady of radio: Vaughn DeLeath, was a Mount Pulaski Native. 
Born Leonore Vonderlieth in the town of Mount Pulaski, Illinois in 1894, her parents were George and Catherine Vonderlieth. At age 12, Leonore relocated to Los Angeles with her mother and sister, where she finished high school and studied music. While at Mills College, she began writing songs, but dropped out to pursue a singing career. She then adopted the stage name "Vaughn De Leath." Her vocals ranged from soprano to deep contralto. De Leath adapted to the emerging, less restrictive jazz vocal style of the late 1910s and early 1920s.
     Vaughn de Leath (Leonore Vonderleith) Born Mount Pulaski, Illinois, September 24, 1894. Died Buffalo, New York, May 28, 1943 Age 48. The original crooner. The Vaughn de Leath show was a sustaining program on NBC in 1936.  She was also heard on the Voice of Firestone. Her radio work began in the early 1920s. 
       Vaughn was one of the first singers to use an electric microphone. Previously, to sing with an acoustic microphone one had to pretty much shout into it. Doing that into an electronic mike would damage everyone's eardrums!  [It would also break the delicate radio glass tubes].  So it's said that Vaughn "wrote the book" on how to sing into the new mikes.  [It's written that she taught Bing Crosby how to croon].
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Oliver Twist is a 1921 song written by singer Vaughn De Leath, and performed by her as the first song sung by confirmed trans-Atlantic commercial radio broadcast. In 1922 the song was one of the early major tie ups between silent pictures and music publishers, with De Leath's song being sung.
            Over the years, there were many MP adult bands.          
                 Mt. Pulaski 1890's Band                                                  Stubblebine's Band
      Mt. Pulaski HS Rhythmaires - late '40's, early '50's    Les Werntz & Claus Tanner continued the tradition
 in the '40's thru the '90's

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II.  Bands and Choirs from Yesteryears

"Bands of Yore" [featured in MPTHS 2011 Calendar - September]

Old Bands
        Mt. Pulaski Band - 1890's
        Prof. Fred Null's Concert Band 1920's
        Prof. Stubblebine's Band - 1900's
Les Werntz & Claus Tanner - 1940's - 1980's
Mt. Pulaski Kitchen Band - 1960's - 1970's
More Kitchen Band Pictures
Rentschler's Grove Band - 1910
Logan County 4H Club Orchestra  -  1926 - 1931 [see below]
"Symphonious Six"
Mt. Pulaski Glee Club - 1933
Mt. Pulaski German Band - "The Red Sauerkrauts"  - 1935
Mt. Pulaski "Rhythmaires" - 1946

                            Romer's Vinegar Hill Brass - 1967 - 2012

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Logan County 4H Club Orchestra  1926 - 1931
Loren Emery - Gene Downing - Wilbur Roos
Marion Halstead - Darwin Downing - Ernest Beck

       Gene Downing and his band played for about 5 years between 1926 to 1931.  Gene says that their band was made up of 6 farm boys, so they called themselves the Logan County 4H Club Orchestra.  Gene says that Wilbur Roos was the leader, as he was the best musician - playing the piano, trumpet and one or two other instruments.  Wilbur went on to be the band instructor at the Mt. Pulaski High School and Grade School. 

       The Logan County Farm Bureau Advisor took an interest in them and had them appear before several Illinois State 4H Conventions in Champaign and once at the Chicago 4H Champions Banquet.  They were notable since they were the only 4H orchestra in Illinois during these years.

       In addition, for several years, they played every Saturday night at the Odd Fellows Hall for Square and Round Dancing.  When they played for dances here and elsewhere, they referred to their orchestra as the Symphonious Six.  Gene says they were paid $20 for each performance.  So, he says, they pocketed $2 each and then used the rest of the money for purchasing sheet music, instrument supplies, gas, and food.

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