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Part of the Collection:
Experiences (Peculiar, Unusual, Humorous)
During 24 YearsIn The U. S. Marine Band
By Art Lehman 6-11-2006

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We wrote earlier about my first Marine Band concert tour, that of 1948. That was my best tour, I think. Being my first, it was all so romantic, educational, exciting, and so pleasant. I was only a tutti player, being on second baritone. Don Kimball did all of the work - solo parts, exposed parts, etc. - while I made sure that I played boldly and loudly in all of the marches, tuttis, and such parts. May not have helped don much but I sure was trying. Back then I wasn't the personnel manager, either, and when I had enough touring experience to take that job, I was always on first euphonium and others played the tutti parts with me. I had gathered much valuabe experience through lots of playing of all kinds, including many tours, so at last I was leading instead of following.

When we were touring in this area or that, I would meet friends, acquaintances, old neighbors, basic training buddies, college classmates, etc., somewhere along the way. That was always a very nice thing. And I was always meeting new people. Once when we were in Poughkeepsie, NY I met Bob and Marilyn Hoe. Chuck Erwin knew them well and had known them for several years by then. They would take him to dinner when we played where they happened to be. I never accepted their kind invitation for dinner because I was always so busy collecting newspapers, clipping articles, ads, reviews, and preparing to send them back to Mrs. Trapp in D.C.

That was why I never knew the Hoe's until much later. I believe that I first saw them on tour back in the 1950's. Bob, of course, was a former cornet and trumpet player so he was pleased to see and hear chuck Erwin play solos on tour. Chuck always was talking about them. He had been to their home and he raved about Bob's listening room and all of the facilities he had there. And chuck always wanted any of my solos on disc which I could dig up to send to Bob. Bob had changed to euphonium years earlier so he was interested in both cornet and euphonium solos.

Finally, I met Bob again one day in the late 1960's at the Marine Band library. I think that it was in 1969 not long after I'd had two hernia surgeries. I wasn't back to full strength as yet. We had a pleasant chat and he asked if he could come down to camp springs to visit and to see what marches for band I had. I said that it was okay and we set up a day and time.

When Bob first visited mother and me, he was intrigued when he went through my file of marches, solos, etc. He wanted to borrow them to make copies and he even had a small copy machine along with him. While he was in the Washington, D.C. area, he did all of the copying and gave the music back to me before he left for Poughkeepsie. One of his pleasant surprises when he was examining my marches was that he found an unknown Teike march, not even cataloged in the archives of the Teike family. Where it had gone to escape their notice, we don't know. However, that march had been published in Switzerland. What a mystery.

Through the years after that I became very friendly with Bob and Marilyn. They were nice people and they were very appreciative of anything anyone did for them. We didn't do much, of course, but we did feed Bob his brunch any time he was in the D.C. metro area and was able to "make the scene". His breakfast was usually at 11 or 11:30 a.m. and of course, by then most normal people have been up for half a day already. That's why I called it brunch. Bob always had certain food items he wanted for his breakfast. One was corn flakes with just so much milk and no more. He also favored fried eggs and bacon, often consuming an enormous amount of bacon at a sitting. He also needed a huge cup of coffee so he could wake up, he said, and we got a cup which was the biggest coffee cup we'd ever seen just for Bob. He loved it.

When Bob came for brunch, our dog "Jet" was very happy because Bob would sneak a bit of this food or a bit of that for the dog. He called her "Jettie" and she was always sitting under the table right at his feet. He wasn't supposed to feed Jet at the table but the fact that she was at his feet gave it all away. Bob was feeding her. We actually didn't care. As long as Bob had his favorite and customary meal, everyone was happy. Marilyn, however, wasn't such a late riser and by lunch time she wanted lunch not breakfast. My mom had to cook both a breakfast for Bob and lunch for Marilyn, herself, and me. It all worked out okay. That may sound strange but the Hoe's were actually no trouble and were pretty flexible. As Bob would always say, "I just do as I'm told."

Bob Hoe really surprised me one Christmas. While the Hoes weren't in this area over Christmas, they had been down here around thanksgiving. Apparently, Bob had dropped of a tremendous carton of material for me for Christmas and left it with Buddy Burroughs who was also a very good friend of the Hoe's by then. This would have to have been about 1977. Buddy was a long time euphonium player with the Marine Band (1935-1966). The enormous carton was much too bulky and heavy for buddy so he emptied it and repacked it into two smaller cartons, each plenty big enough to make it a job to carry it. The idea was that on Christmas Eve, Buddy was to haul all of this stuff over to my Camp Springs house and give it to me as a Christmas gift from Bob and Marilyn Hoe. That is exactly what Buddy did and what a surprise. Now, what in the world could be in those two large cartons? Well, Bob had made a large supply of my solo discs unbeknownst to me. Having my solos (some of them) on LP discs was something I always wanted to have done but I didn't know how to go about it and didn't have the money to engage in such an endeavor. Bob did and he had two cartons of my solo discs enclosed for me. Of course, there were other items. All musical in nature or associated with music. One big section of' the cartons was a good supply of two books of articles concerning euphonium playing which I had written a bit earlier. I'd given Bob copies and he did let me know that he wanted to put them out in book form. So I knew about the books but the LP's were a complete surprise. Buddy was pleased to deliver the nice items and we had a great visit that Christmas eve. He was, of course, retired by then.

Much later Bob was the sad victim of lung cancer. He was a big cigar smoker, of course, and that was his downfall. My father was a cigar smoker and both he and Bob only lived for sixty years. What a shame! When Bob was in D.C, he would occasionally take my mom and me to a concert somewhere. This one time we were at the Kennedy center for some band concert, and Bob started coughing. Sounded to me that he was coming down with the flu. It was not the flu. It turned out to be a cancerous tumor in one lung. In time the lung was removed and then began a long stressful recovery period. Bob never slowed down much, even driving down to D.C. as always. Perhaps he wasn't coming down here quite as often as usual. He did deliver many cartons of discs which were part of his "Heritage of the March" program. I was to deliver them to wherever they were to go, or have the recipients stop in and pick them up.

Finally, back at home in Poughkeepsie Bob keeled over while at dinner one day. After examinations, x-rays, etc. At the hospital, two brain tumors were discovered. What a mess that was. They did operate and remove what they could remove safely. Bob, of course, was holed up in the hospital for weeks. During that time I had decided to do something for Bob to get him interested in anything. Something new, that is. Something to divert attention from his sad condition. I decided to write some more articles. Then, during the super bowl game that year (whatever year it was) i sketched out some articles and wrote six of them to get started. That kept me in business - sending Bob one article a day - until I could get rolling on some more titles. When i thought of a title, I usually found that I could write some sort of an article. I think that I wrote an article a day for over forty days. But, the inevitable happened. Bob died (in 1983) and that was the end of the articles.

Some years later Dave Werden was into his music publishing business, got wind of these articles I'd written for Bob and asked my permission to publish some of them in a book. As they were the property of the Hoe family, I directed Dave to contact Marilyn Hoe for permission. He did and the permission was gladly given. Dave did publish some of these articles in his own publication. Pretty nice of him. Dave is, of course, a wonderful euphonium player with, perhaps, the greatest flexibility of any youffer on the planet.

And, that is where we are right now. Bob Hoe lives on in his 265 or so LP discs of band music - marches and concert pieces. And one item of his production was noteworthy - perhaps it was his greatest achievement. It is his U.S. Marine band set of recordings of all of the works of John Philip Sousa. What an undertaking! That really was a tremendous job for one person. However, with the help of the U.S. Marine band, he did get it all finished.

Every so often Bob would come down to the D.C. area and he would be pressed for time so he'd give me an envelope with a check in it for the Marine Band. That was so they could pay bills from the disc manufacturers, the printers, from this contractor and that one. He provided the money; the Marine Band controlled the distribution. Some of these checks were for amounts into the five-figure range. Not "chopped liver". Bob told me that that was his biggest record production job and, of all of the expenses connected with the Sousa discs, having the covers printed in color was the most expensive by far. However, he did want the covers to be in color and that was a great decision for what beautiful covers they are.

As you may be aware, when the Bob Hoe project to publish and distribute the works of Sousa on discs recorded and produced by the U.S. Marine Band, it was Lt. Col. Jack Kline who was the director then. He was very supportive of Bob and the entire program. What a feather in his cap, I'd say.

Written by Arthur Lehman for Keith Barton, June 11, 2006

 

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