Kristen's Interview with Karl L. King - Page 2

Kristen's mother: Will the city be replacing some of this stuff?
King: Oh, we're replacing a little now.  Yes, had some insurance to cover most of the equipment, but not a lot to cover the music.  And then there's been some pretty nice people who have sent some checks and donations, too.
Kristen's mother: No, I didn't know they had.
King: Quite a few people have sent them.
Kristen's mother: Didn't (inaudible) the other night give half of their proceeds or something?
King: Not yet, anyway.
Kristen's mother: I was thinking that was Friday night ....
King:  Maybe they're going to.  I don't know.  I've had some different groups and individuals and some people from out of town you don't expect to get from, you know.

Kristen's mother: It's sad, but it's kinda good that people really realize the worth of this.  It's brought it to their minds a little more.
King: It's going to be annoying for a long time, you know, cause every time I think of a particular number I want to play, I'll suddenly remember what happened to it ....
Kristen's mother: You wouldn't have any of it here?
King: Oh, no.  Probably the only things I saved was for June Rowles.  I wrote out the manuscript for her song.  I had most of those in my office.  I never did leave those downtown, and the only two of hers that I really lost were two she sang at that first concert.  I mean we played the January concert, so those were up there, too.

Kristen's mother:  Do you have your office in your home?
King: I have an office downtown; publishing.  Or we did have publishing.  Sold it, by the music store.  Really do a lot of office work at home.  My wife keeps the books, pay the bills, and things.  Just go down there to fill mail orders.  We can do correspondence from here in the evening, due to our age.

Kristen's mother: You can tell him what you play.
Kristen: I play the viola.  That's a school instrument, too.
King: Glad you're playing it!
Kristen: I'm in the orchestra, too.
King: Viola is a real nice instrument.  If you ever got real proficient at it, and want to play professionally, usually an opening for the viola player, cause there aren't too many of them.
Kristen's mother: There's only two in the whole orchestra.
Kristen: And also, I play the piano.
King: That's really the basic instrument.  I think everyone should take piano first.  It makes the other instruments a whole lot easier.
Kristen: Because I learned all my notes, and then it was a lot easier.
King: Then you had to read the alto clef ... for viola.
Kristen: Yeah, huh.
King: Puts C on the third line where B would ordinarily be.

Kristen's mother: You should tell what your dad plays.
Kristen: Oh, my dad played the baritone and he played in your band about 20 years ago.
Kristen's mother: More than that ...
Kristen: Ohhhh.
Kristen's mother: Hovey from Badger.
King: Yeah.
Kristen's mother: He played it in high school, I think, or just before he went to the service, about '45 ... '44.  He wanted to come this morning.  He's a tax accountant now.  He had tax appointments and we didn't know that when we made our appointment.  He'll have to come back and visit with you someday.  He'd like to see you.

Kristen's mother (looking at pictures): That's his son.  uh-huh.
King: At the music store.  Studied at Drake.
Kristen's mother: (inaudible) played the baritone in Mr. King's band ....
King: Yeah, remember him ...
Kristen's mother: He'd doubt if you'd remember, but Kristen says not too many people play the baritone.
King: Well, I still couldn't sit down and write a list of all that have played with me in the last 15 years.
Kristen's mother: No...
King: But some only play a year or so, then they go to college.  Frank Issacson, yeah, he was with me a few years.  Dead and gone, now.  there's nobody in the band that was in it when I came here fifty years ago.  There are only two left alive: John Magennis, the piano tuner here in town, and Mattice.  And they're both quite old and haven't played for years, either one.  They are the only two survivors that I know of from the original band.

Another voice: United States Army Band sang "Happy Birthday"
King: They sent me a special tape they made.

Announcer's voice: The United States Army Band and Chorus extend to you Best Wishes for a very Happy Birthday!
chorus sings: Happy birthday to you, dear Karl ...
The band then plays a King march.
King: Got enough tape to tape it all?  Hear that baritone part?  (following music) Army Band in Washington D.C.
Kristen's mother: Isn't that nice, very nice!  That's lovely.  Yes, it certainly was.  Did they make any more?
King: I don't think so.  They sent us one on our Golden Anniversary four years ago.  Started off with their soloist sing the "Anniversary Song."
Kristen's mother: Isn't that wonderful, that really is!

King: Oh, we heard from everybody, with that fire and all that band... Everybody was writing from all over the United States, wanting to know if they could help and offering music.  That's real wonderful.
Kristen's mother: Isn't that wonderful!
King: Band leader of a Disneyland band out there called.
Kristen's mother: Have you been out there, to Disneyland?
King: No, I knew him before he went out there.  He used to be assistant at the University of Wisconsin ... Christensen.  Just worn out trying to answer all these phone calls and all the mail and everything.  It's been a ...
Kristen's mother: You almost have to get a full time secretary.
King: Ruth has been running interference for me a while, you know ...

Kristen's mother: That was two concerts quite close together.
King: After we were left without any music, we had to get that together in a hurry, and then both concerts close together!  I had to phone for help for a couple of months.
Kristen's mother: You've been awfully busy.  Here you think you're almost ready to slow down and then it gets busier that ever, doesn't it?
King: There's no end to it.  You go ahead, now.  What were you going to say, Honey?

click to enlarge - 612kb
click to enlarge image

Kristen: That first concert, the birthday one, it sounded like you had been getting it together for a year!  It was really good!
King: Well, we have a pretty good bunch of professional musicians here.  So many of those fellas, quite a few, that came back that had moved away.  Reggie Schive, solo clarinet player, he's with the University of Nebraska over in Omaha.
Kristen: Mary Heimbruch, she teaches band and she teaches band instruments at our school.  She plays the clarinet in your band.
King: Yeah, she's good, too.  Very fine player; very nice lady.  And then Dean Olson comes all the way from Minneapolis to play the trombone for me!  He comes here a couple times a year.  He's a Fort Dodge boy.
Kristen's mother: Isn't that nice?
King: Good chance to visit his folks.  They live here, too, and they kind of make a visit out of it too, I suppose.
Kristen's mother: Oh, I see. Do they come quite often?
King: Come for most of the concert.  They don't come for the rehearsals.

Kristen's mother: Are you getting tired?
King: Oh, no.  But I'm supposed to limit these things to being up to half an hour.  I've got the doctor on my neck all the time!
Kristen's mother: Well, that's it.  You kinda have to pace your visits.
King: With that birthday thing; just so much going on all the time.  Neither one of us could control anything; phone calls from California, door bell ringing ...
Kristen's mother: Maybe we should turn it off now.
King: Do you have enough there, Honey?
Kristen: Uh-huh. Thank you very much for letting me ask these questions.
King You're very welcome.  Nice to have you here.

Kristen's voice:

My name is Kristen Hovick.  I had this interview with Karl King on Saturday, March 20, 1971.  Mr. King was born in Paintersville, Ohio, on February 21st, 1891.  He was only fourteen when he wrote his first march, and when he was only seventeen he had his first tune accepted for publication.  At eighteen, Mr. King was accepted as a baritone player with the Robinson Circus Band.  In 1912, he joined the Sells-Floto Circus, and the following year he played baritone for the famous Barnum & Bailey Circus.  It was during this time he wrote Barnum & Bailey's Favorite.  He was bandmaster of the Sells-Floto and Buffalo Bill Combined Shows from 1914-1916. In 1917 he became bandmaster of the Barnum & Bailey's Circus.  He moved to Fort Dodge in the autumn of 1920 and became director of the Fort Dodge Municipal Band.  In the past fifty years many honors came to Karl King.  I believe he was Fort Dodge's most famous citizen.  Mr. King died on March 31st, 1971.  His last parade, Saturday, April 3rd, was (held) in his memory.  The cortege of hundreds of automobiles was perhaps the longest ever seen for a funeral here.  The flags at many places in the city were flown at half-mast from the time of his death until he was laid to rest.

At the end of this interview Mr. and Mrs. King gave me an autographed copy of the record Salute to Karl King (by) the band of her Majesty's LifeGuards.

next page - Online Photo Archive

back to Karl King Stories

the Karl King Page