L. Marie Asquith 1912 – 1914
Jessie M. Grossman 1914 - 1915
On April 5, 1912, Davis took a leave of absence due to ill health, and the district employed Miss L. Marie Asquith to carry on her high school work for the remainder of the semester at $25 per month (School Board, 1910-1912, p. 229). Asquith received her education at St. Mary’s School in Knoxville, Illinois, and Lyceum Arts, Chicago where she studied with Sibyl Sammis MacDermid (Polaris, 1914). Mary O’Connor was hired full time to teach music at 8 grade schools (grades 1st-8th) with a salary of $75 per month. Asquith was paid $40 per month to work three half days per week at the high school, teaching general music classes, Treble Clef Club, Glee Club, and Orchestra (School Board, 1912-1914, p. 26). In 1914, Asquith resigned, and Jessie M. Grossman was elected to the position of high school music at $50 per month (p. 185).
In the 1910s, school boards from Oakland, CA to Rochester, NY allotted $10,000 each to the purchase of band and orchestra instruments for every school in their systems (1913 and 1918 respectively). Although this was the exception, it provided leadership and inspiration for others across the nation (Colwell & Goolsby, 2002, p. 7).
High School Music:
In 1911, orchestra members Earl Sinclair, Ethel Thompson, and Charles Markel approached the school board to request the formation of a band. The school board turned them down, but with Principal Fulwider’s support, the same students attempted twice more. On the third try, the school board voted to hire a band director and furnish a beginners method book, but all members were required to furnish their own instruments and uniforms. In 1912, Lucius M. Hiatt directed the band after school from 4 – 5 pm, once per week. Hiatt brought his two sons; Hal on clarinet and Lucius on trombone. Along with Earl, Ethel, and Charles, they assisted in coaching the beginners during rehearsals. Initially, Hiatt directed 14 boys on second-hand instruments. The boys paid 15 cents per lesson (Tilden, 1972, p. 453). The band rehearsed during the fall of 1912 and spring of 1913. They performed for their first annual concert on May 5, 1913 and for commencement that year as well, according to the 1913 Polaris. Concert proceeds were used toward the purchase of uniforms for the performers and their director (Tilden, 1972, p. 453). The band grew to 28 members, and on October 3, 1913, the school board agreed to pay Hiatt $14 per month for 5 months (1912-1914, p. 141). Principal Fulwider demonstrated his support through a letter to the school board written on April 3, 1914:
Last year the boys bought instruments amounting to over $500.00. They paid the director all year. The uniforms cost $378.00. We have bought and paid for a bass drum, clarinet, bass horn, alto horn – cash $77.50. This year the Board paid part of Mr. Hiatt’s charges, and this we appreciate. The Band is now in debt over $100.00 on uniforms and Mr. Hiatt’s instruction. We ask the Board to assume and pay Mr. Hiatt’s charges of $7.00 a week, beginning February last, not exceeding a maximum of $122.50 per semester, or $245.00 per year. As a case in point, I will cite that the Rockford Board of Education pays the Band director over $300.00 a year. (p. 170)
The formation of the high school band had both a positive and negative impact on the orchestra, as it did with many programs across the country. For years, the band was hired to furnish music for commencement week, a privilege that had previously been given to the orchestra.
Jessie Grossman 1914-1915
In 1914, Asquith resigned, and Jessie M. Grossman was elected to the position of high school music at $50 per month (School Board, 1912-1914, p. 185). Grossman studied piano with Earl C. Smith at the Chicago Musical College, and her vocal instructors included Margaret Fry and Sybil Sammis McDermid at the Public School Music National Summer School (Polaris, 1915, p. 16). Grossman only remained in the position for one year, at which time, Nellie Provost was hired by the school board to teach General Music and English. Lucius Hiatt, band director, was given the additional responsibility of leading the orchestra at an initial salary of $28 per month (School Board, 1914-1916).