Franklin Kreider

The Collinsville Township High School Band was organized September 29, 1930, with a membership of forty-one. Mr. Franklin C. Kreider was appointed as director. The band made its first public appearance on Armistice Day of that year when it took part in the American Legion Parade. In April 1931, the band participated in its first district contest as a class "D" band at Centralia, IL. The next year it participated as a class "B" band at Hillsboror, IL. The following year, 1932, it captured first prize in the district contest here in Collinsville, and also the Washington University class "B" competition. The contest was held at the Miners Theatre on Friday, April 14, with bands from fifteen counties participating. At 4:00 o'clock 700 children, members of the fifteen bands, assembled on East Main Street and marched to the corners of Main and Clinton streets and played three marches under the direction of the contest judge, Mr. Raymond Dvorak of Wisconsin University. This, indeed was a red letter day for Collinsville.

In 1934 the band won first place in the Washington University Class "B" Competition, in the district contest at Belleville, and in the State contest at Urbana. The band then journeyed to the National Band Contest in Des Moines, Iowa on June 1, and received a third rating. In 1935, May, 9, 10 and 11, the band participated in the National Band Festival at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kan., where it won first and a large silver loving cup.

In 1936, the tenth volume of the year book, the KAHOKIAN, was dedicated to the band. In that same year the band won first in both the district and the state, and competed in the National Contest at Cleveland, OH, and there received a third rating.

In 1937, the band won distinction by placing first in the district and state class "B" competition. In July of that year the band competed and won first place honors with a purse of $100 at the Fifth Division Convention of the American Legion at Salem, IL.

Collinsville's one hundredth anniversary was celebrated with a festival and pageant sponsored by the Band Parents Association on September 2,3, and 4. The purpose of the celebration was to raise funds to purchase new uniforms for this band.

In 1938 the band won first in district, state and national contests at Elkhart, IN, Class "B." Due to the fact that the band won first in national competition, it was not permitted to compete in the district and state contests; therefore it was sent direct to the national competition in Little Rock, AR., where the band moved up to class "A" competition because of the increase in enrollment of the school. The band was distinctly honored there by winning a first rating. In 1940 it was again sent direct to the national contest, which was held in Kansas City, MO, and again received a first rating in class "A."

Due to the fact that the band had won the national contests three times consecutively, it was barred from the national competition; therefore the members of the band, Mr. Kreider and the band parents organization decided to make spring concert tours to various cities of the United States. On May 21, 1941, the band left East St. Louis by special train and presented concerts at Mattoon High School, IL; State Teachers' College at Terre Haute, IN; Woodward High School, Cincinnati, OH, and Eastern Illinois Teachers' College at Charleston. This trip was a great success, and the band was invited to play return engagements in Cincinnati, OH, Covington, Newport, and Fort Thomas, KY. They accepted the invitations, and in the years 1942 and 1943 they played before 12,000 people each year in these various cities.

In 1944 the band played to overflow audiences in Memphis, TN, and in 1945 and 1946 the concerts were given in Louisville, KY, and the New Albany, IN, High Schools. While in Louisville the band participated in the state music clinics for Kentucky.

The 1946-1947 season saw the band leaving Collinsville at 3:00AM on April 19, 1947, in three specially chartered buses, with Forth Worth, TX the destination. They played for 20,000 people while in Texas. Ten concerts at Fort Worth, TX, which were the highlights of the trip. All concerts were played to overflow audiences.

Homeward bound, the band stopped at Dallas, TX to spend the day sight-seeing. The band arrived home Sunday evening April 27, 1947.

The City of New Orleans was the objective of the 1948 band trip, and traveling by chartered buses, the band climaxed a successful year by spending a very profitable and enjoyable week in the Crescent City.

The members of the band were guests of the famous St. Charles Hotel. They toured the old, lovely city in the buses, seeing all the historical and delightful sights, and presented concerts to very responsive audiences in the schools. The band received such ovations in the schools that the Mayor of the City of New Orleans presented the President of the Band, Richard Kamm, Mr. Franklin C. Kreider, Band Director, and Miss Mary Ruth Cunningham, Secretary of the high school with keys to the city - prized possessions, symbolic of success, happiness, and memories of a wonderful trip and a wonderful city.