Letter from Clarence W. Balthazor

Letter from Clarence W. Balthazor

June 23, 1997

From E-Mail Correspondence Collected by Brad Reel

The history about the Muni Band took me back plenty of years when I played in it Some really fun years. Had lots and lots of band friends over the years. Good times. The article included "Russ Merk's Orchestra" with a list of local bands in the '40's. Actually I believe that should be "Ross Milk's Orchestra" with which I played for a long time. At one period Ross had two bands of the "Ross Melk's Orchestra" (he changed the name) and hired me as leader of the second band with duplicated orchestrations.

I was part of the George Piersol-led effort to get the Muni started up again in 1947 after the war only to see that effort fail. I was one of those who supported Ed Daniel's and Virgil Bader's successful effort and played with the revitalized and reorganized band beginning in 1954 until [my wife] Jan and I moved to Springfield in 1957.

Ed Daniel is the one who sold me the valve trombone about that time that I later gave to [my great-grand nephew Dave]. I was playing with Ross Melk at the time and was looking for a valve bone. I used it in Kankakee for jobs. In Springfield I used it for jams mostlly [sic] at the Elk's Club until I could no longer play. After a few more years, I sold my cornet, and [Dave] got the bone.