John E. N. Howard returns to guest direct the band he lead for 40 years.

Director of the St. Joseph Municipal Band, Dr. Donald Moely, indicated the band concerts scheduled for Sunday, July 8 are very unique because John E. N. Howard will be featured as a guest director to conduct two of his selections with the band on the program.  What is unique about it is that Mr. Howard celebrates his birthday on the same day. 

Present director, Dr. Moely said, “We started planning this last year when it was realized that July 8 falls on Howard’s birthday, and we thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to use that date to celebrate his birthday and have him return to the podium which he knows better than anyone.  Since I became director of the band, I have told John many times how much I have appreciated all that he did, because now I know and truly comprehend all the outstanding work he did during his illustrious 40 years as Director, of planning, organizing and directing 24 to 26 concerts each summer.”

Dr. Moely continued, “The band is very excited to have Mr. Howard return to conduct.  Many members still remember his fine work during his exemplary 40 years as its director.  It will be special for the band and the audiences to welcome Mr. Howard back to the podium.”

Howard was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and the youngest of four children.  His musical life began in the 5th grade when he started playing piano, and also studied the saxophone, clarinet, bassoon, cello.  He finished high school at age 16 and graduated as valedictorian of his class of 550 students.  He attended The University of Michigan and received his Bachelor of Music degree in 1941, and his Master’s degree in 1942.  After serving 39 months in the Army Air Corps, signal corps, infantry and artillery branches, he and his family returned to Ann Arbor where he began work on his Doctorate, but decided to teach.  After beginning his teaching career in Wayne, Michigan, he moved to St. Joseph in 1948, where that summer he shared the directing responsibilities with Herschall Wallace of the St. Joseph Municipal Band, and was also the St. Joseph High School Band Director.  The was the beginning of a 40 year association with the St. Joseph Municipal Band.  Two tragedies overshadowed recent years when his wife, Lil, passed away in 1981 and his son, Stephen, died in an automobile accident in 1983.  A granite sundial on the band shell site is dedicated to their memories.  John E. N. Howard married a long-time friend, Dede Edinger Wallsmith in December 1983.  Mr. Howard has always said what he has to say through his music and has said it best from the podium of the band shell which bears his name.  Hundreds of bandsmen have had the privilege of playing under his baton while thousands have listened to his varied programs and educational narrations. 

Director Moely indicated, “As long as there is music from the band shell in St. Joseph, we will remember the John E. N. Howard years in his superb leadership and dedication in providing the finest in band music for the St. Joe audiences at the John E. N. Howard Band Shell.  We are excited and eagerly awaiting John’s conducting appearance on his birthday, July 8.”

The concert begins with “His Honor”, a Henry Fillmore march.  Published in 1933, this march referred to the mayor of Cincinnati who impressed Fillmore with his sense of humor and his superb executive ability.  Dr. Moely said “we’d like to open our concert dedicating this march to John E. N. Howard” which in a musical way commemorates Mr. Howard’s great executive ability and musical leadership during the 40 years he served as the Municipal Band’s Director.

The band then turns to perform a work by a composer whose birthday is also July 8, that of composer Percy Grainger.  The work they’ll perform is his “Lincolnshire Posey” which represents a bunch of musical wild flowers based on folk songs collected in Lincolnshire, England, in 1905-06.  The band will play selected short movements of the work.  “Minuteman March” by Frank Piersol follows.  

The intermission entertainment for the program will be the Crystal Valley Chorus, a prospective chapter of Sweet Adelines International - Region 3 - was established in the fall of 1998. They maintain a membership of 16 ladies plus 2 associate members, and meet at the Jamestown United Methodist Church in Elkhart, IN on Thursdays at 7:30 pm (IN time). Their director, Cathy Pinkerton, has performed women's barbershop for 12 years, working with quartets and choruses as both a singer and director, competing in international competitions. She has also been a member of the Elkhart County Symphony for 20 years as a cellist. Crystal Valley's assistant director, Kristin Farwig, sings baritone in the chorus and also plays French horn with the Elkhart Municipal Band in Elkhart, IN. If you would like more information on membership in the Crystal Valley Chorus or would be interested in having them sing for a special occasion, please contact Kim Snellenberger. Quartets are also available! 

Mr. Howard takes to podium and directs “Free Lance March” by John Philip Sousa. published in 1906.  He follows this on the program by conducting “March of the Steel Men”, by Charles S. Belsterling, a march which features four trumpets and four trombones in the trio. 

The concert ends with Moely returning to conduct “Beguine for Band,” by Acton Osterling. 

The concerts will be at 3:30 and 7:30 at the John E. N. Howard Band Shell across from the Whitcomb in downtown St. Joseph.

 Updated on 07/06/2001