West declares end to Great Depression
Historic Territorial Band revived
by Jeff Curnow –
The 1927 Western Territorial Staff Band
Territorial Staff Band
The great depression of the late 20s and early 1930s hit the Army as hard as it hit those it served. Most officers served for only room and board, while other programs were curtailed to stretch every penny that the Army had.
While orders from then General Higgins, circulated in 1931, urged leadership in all territories to avoid lowering the flag—closing programs anywhere—all resources were used to the limit.
Unfortunately, cuts had to be made. The Western Territorial Staff Band, formed just 10 years earlier by Captain Earnest D. Higgins, was disbanded. After a music festival in September of 1931, serving as a farewell celebration for (then) Major Higgins, the band’s distinctive uniforms were closeted and THQ—then in San Francisco—had to make do without an official band for territorial events.
A new and different approach
While staff bands in various territories have been used by God to bless thousands of listeners while promoting the growth of traditional army music, some music leaders feel that they detract from corps bands in THQ cities. Most staff bands require that members remain involved in their corps band as a condition of membership, but they also require weekly rehearsal and usually have a monthly weekend engagement.
The new Western Territorial band will be different in that it will bring players from across the territory together three times per year. Members will still be required to be part of their corps band, but limiting the time away should reduce the strain on corps bands. In addition, the high standard expected of territorial band members will require each to practice more diligently than before. Territorial band members participating in corps bands should raise the level of excellence for bands across the territory.