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As It Was: Cadet Band Entertains Christmas Audiences in 1912

During Christmas Week 1912, the Oregon Agricultural College Cadet Band played concerts in Southern Oregon towns.  On Christmas day it was in Cottage Grove, the next night in Grants Pass, and then Medford.

Fred Strang played the baritone and Vance “Pinto” Colvig played the clarinet.  Band members stayed in local homes and enjoyed belated Christmas dinners.

The concerts were well received and drew applause for encores.  Keisler’s “Forest Echoes,” in which Strang played in a quartet, and the “Anvil Chorus” from “La Traviata” were much in demand.

Pinto Colvig, who in later years was a cartoonist for Walt Disney and created “Bozo” the Clown, was the hit during intermission.  With a large pad of drawing paper on an easel and a chalk crayon in each hand, he created caricatures of local people or familiar figures with lightning speed and sometimes both hands at the same time. While drawing, he kept up a patter of talk that left everyone breathless with laughter.

The 1912, OAC yearbook, The Orange, contains some of Colvig’s sketches and photos of the band.

Sources: "O.A.C Band Is Good Entertainer." Medford Mail Tribune, 28 Dec. 1912, p. 2 and 8.

The Orange: OAC Yearbook of the Junior Class of 1912. Oregon Agricultural College, 1912, p. 61, 330, 340, 344.

Alice Mullaly is a graduate of Oregon State and Stanford University, and taught mathematics for 42 years in high schools in Nyack, New York; Mill Valley, California; and Hedrick Junior High School in Medford. Alice has been an Southern Oregon Historical Society volunteer for nearly 30 years, the source of many of her “As It Was” stories.