The Royalton J. L. Mitchell Band was organized around 1918-1919, according to this
story which was told by Mary Missavage.
Paul Lutostanski, who was the organist in the St. Aloysuis Catholic Church, said,
"What this town needs is a band."
Father Siefert replied, "Well, why don't you organize one?"
Paul answered, "It costs too much money."
Father Siefert suggested, "Why don't we go to Mitchell and have him sponsor one for us?"
That is exactly what they did.
That is exactly why most of the members were Catholic.
The band played for parades, homecomings, and miner's meetings. It was like a big
picnic when they performed. Sometimes the Polish lodge would have a big thing, and this band would come and lead the parade.
During World War I, they played when the soldiers left; about forty of them left at one time. So, they played at serious times as well as fun times.
Some of the Royalton Town Band members and
the instruments they played: Russ Stephens, bass drum; Ralph
Tindall, snare drum; Felix McGhee, snare drum; Dennis Welch,
trombone; Rella Sims, trombone; Laura Sims, saxophone; Ruth Tweedy,
saxophone; Nick Derbak, saxophone; Walter Barkus, cornet; Albert
McCauley, cornet; Orville McGill, cornet; Troy Sims, cornet;
Herman Sims, baritone; Slim Cochran, clarinet; Steve Derbak,
clarinet; Rita Stephens, clarinet; Claude McCoy, French horn;
and Mary Emma Stephens, flute and piccolo.
Note: On July 27, 2010 I received the following information:
My father, Edward Missavage Jr MD, died on July 10. We've been going through his genealogy materials, and I found the same photo of the JL Mitchell band as on your web site. It has some names added to it.
Center back: Father Seifert
In front of him: "Mitchell"
Right rear: Ed Missavage Sr (my grandfather, holding a euphonium, which happens to be the same instrument I play!)
In front of him: Bill Missavage (trumpet or cornet)
Hope you can use this information. Thanks.
--Karen Missavage Dunnam"
Thank You, Karen. This information is greatly appreciated. I am presently preparing the Royalton History Files for containment in a Time Capsule that will be a part of a monument being erected in memory of the former Miners' Hall. Your information will become a part of the presentation placed in this capsule.
Again, Royalton "Thanks You" for your valuable contribution.
Memories of Mr. David Love
Mr. Love was our town band director. He had a great musical reputation, for he was at one time a member of John Phillip Sousa's famous marching band. The Royalton band members were all adults, and they had a reputation for making very good music. No child ever dreamed of joining that band; it was a band of adult musicians!
Nevertheless, when I was eleven years old, Mr. Herman Sims came to me and asked if I would like to play the drum in the town band. I accepted the invitation without delay because, for one thing, my cousin Oscar of Zeigler had just given me a set of drums. Herman showed me a couple of things about reading music for drums, and I marched to the Miner's Hall one Friday evening for my first practice with the band. The members sat in a circle formation with the drummers just behind and to the right of the director. Boy, was I scared! We had gotten into the very first piece about ten staves when Mr. Love stopped us, turned around and glared at me for at least a full minute that seemed more like an hour, and then shouted, "Hit it". I did, and from about that moment onward, I enjoyed being a member of the Royalton town band.
About 1935, Mr. Love moved into the house two doors north of us. He was a St. Louis Cardinal fan almost as avid as I, so it seemed natural that we would tune in the radio to listen to the games together. Many an afternoon in the summer, I would sit with him on his front porch and listen to Franz Locke describe the activities from Sportsman's Park. One day I mentioned that I played the violin in the high school orchestra. Mr. Love picked upon this immediately and told me to send to Sears Roebuck for all the Scottish and Irish jigs and reels that I could afford. Once the music arrived, it became an almost nightly occurrence for me to take my violin to Mr. Love's home, where I would play for him for a couple of hours. He, being of Welsh origin, knew that music well and corrected all my mistakes, even though the violin is not a band instrument. It was the equivalent of receiving a music lesson each evening. Little did I realize that my ability was improving. The end result was that when I applied for membership in the college orchestra in Carbondale, I was awarded a music scholarship that continued throughout my college career.
Mr. Love owned an automobile, but did not drive it himself. There were several young men who drove him around, and once he became our neighbor, it wasn't long before I began driving him occasionally. He liked to ride in his car, and I enjoyed driving him around. I think that over the years, we visited everyone he knew. I remember once we went southward from Royalton some fifty miles and found a dewberry patch. We spent the entire morning picking berries. When we returned, Mr. Love prepared the berries and made a batch of wine. It was good, but never once did I tell my mother about that experience!