Minneapolis Fire Department Band
Those who attended the convention of the International Association of Fire Engineers at Toronto will remember that one of the most pleasing features at that meeting was the entertainment by the fire department band of Minneapolis. The first public appearance of this band was in Minneapolis, under the leadership of E. C. Meyer, who served as band leader in France with the United States military forces, in the parade on Armistice Day, November 11, 1919. So thoroughly impressed were the general public and Chief C. W. Ringer with the earnestness of the members and their ability as musicians that the chief took immediate steps to take the band with him to the Toronto convention. A campaign was immediately started to raise $10,000, with the result that $19,000 was collected by popular subscription. The band was most cordially received and accorded every courtesy while at Toronto. They played two and three times a day at all the leading hotels and on Tuesday evening gave a two hours’ concert in the Exposition Grounds to a large and appreciative audience. On Wednesday afternoon the band, accompanied by the ladies of the party, visited the Dominion Orthopedic Hospital on Christie St. and gave a concert for the disabled soldiers Among the two hundred and fifty soldiers detained there, a number were from the States. The ladies of the party carried flowers for distribution and the members of the band felt it rather a patriotic duty than otherwise in giving to those heroic boys such entertainment as they could with their music.
In the summer of 1915, Chief Ringer believed that the chances were good for obtaining the convention of the International Association of Fire Engineers for Minneapolis in 1916. To cover the expense for entertainment of the delegates, Chief Ringer called together a citizens committee to devise ways and means for raising funds. It was decided to hold a Fire show at the State Fair Grounds. This show was given July 31, 1915, and netted something over $5,000, but the convention was diverted to another city in 1916. After the entry of the United States into the World War, the Minneapolis fire department sent into service one hundred and twenty eight men and Chief Ringer called his citizens committee together, calling their attention to the fact that among the number enlisted in the military services from the department, some men or their families might be in need of assistance and asked permission to use the accumulated funds for such relief or for some useful purpose to keep up the morale of the fire department, and spoke of a brass band which in addition to helping to maintain a good working spirit in the department, would serve as an excellent advertising medium for the City of Minneapolis.
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The Citizens Committee heartily approved the suggestions of the chief and authorized him to use his discretion in the matter of disposition of the funds. At the expiration of the World War, it was found that with the exception of two men, who were being provided for in other ways, the force was unimpaired and all but the two mentioned came back to their old positions. Under these conditions the chief, early in 1919, started to organize a brass band in the department. Instruments were purchased and an instructor employed from the funds on hand and on June 9, 1919, the instruments were delivered to members of the band.
Among the 38 members of the band, 9 men had received some musical education and two members had had some band experience. All were members of the department previous to the organization of the band and none hired into the band or department because of their musical ability. Under the leadership of E. C. Meyer, who served as band leader in France with the U. S. Military Forces, the band made their first public appearance in the parade Armistice Day, Nov. 11, 1919, and so thoroughly impressed the general public and Chief Ringer with their earnestness in music, that the chief took immediate steps to take the band with him to the annual convention of the International Association of Fire Engineers at Toronto, July 26th to 31st, 1920. A campaign was started to raise $10,000 which resulted in $19,000 being raised by popular subscription.
Appleton, Wis., has recently added an AmericanLaFrance triple combination to its fire apparatus, which gives the department an equipment equal to that of any city of its size in the state. It now has two triple combinations, a ladder and a hose truck and the chief’s Buick car carries chemicals and a pulmotor. The ladder truck also has a 25-gallon tank of tetrachloride for use in oil and gasoline fires.