The Karl L. King Municipal Band of Fort Dodge, Iowa

The 2015 Winter Concert Series

February 22, 2015

The Karl L. King Municipal Band, conducted by Jerrold Jimmerson, opened the 2015 indoor season with a concert in the Decker Auditorium at Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge.   Opening this concert was Karl King’s best-known composition, “Barnum and Bailey’s Favorite March”.

This February Concert always recognizes the music of the band’s namesake, Karl L. King,
in celebration of his birth on February 21, 1891.

The music performed reflected a variety of King’s musical styles and tastes, and was influenced by his career as a circus musician.   When Karl King arrived in Fort Dodge in the fall of 1920 with his wife Ruth and young son Karl, Jr., he was already a well-established performer, conductor, composer, and publisher of band music.   He continued to write music along with directing the local Municipal Band for 50 years, and eventually opened his own music store and publishing business here.

Conductor Jimmerson drew music for this concert from several of the compositions published 100 years ago in 1915, when Karl King was a 24-year old young man.   He had traveled for four years, from 1910 through 1913, with different circuses and had already reached the peak of his playing career as a Euphonium player with the Barnum and Bailey Circus Band, the top job of that era.

Additional selections on the first portion of the concert included “Sweeney’s Cavalcade March” by W. Paris Chambers, and a ragtime selection, “Buffalo Bill’s Centennial”.

The 1914 season found Mr. King being named bandleader on the Sells-Floto Buffalo Bill Combined Shows, a position he would hold through the 1915 and 1916 seasons as well.   Thus began his lasting friendship with Col. William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody.   Selections performed from 1915 included the overture, “Prince Charming”; an intermezzo, “Arabian Nights”; a lively galop, “Walsenberg”, and music written by Mr. King for the actual Buffalo Bill Wild West Show, featuring the second movement of his Western Suite, “On The Warpath”.

The second half of this concert provided a musical time capsule of 1945, commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.   On February 23, 1945, a brave group of five U.S. Marines and one Navy corpsman raised a flag on the island of Iwo Jima.   Three months later, the day after the Allies formally accepted Nazi Germany’s surrender – Victory in Europe Day – that same flag was raised over the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C.   Included in the second half of this concert were Aaron Copland’s dramatic “Fanfare for the Common Man”, followed by “Midway March”, composed by John Williams for the movie 1941.

The King Band continued their musical tribute with “Themes from Victory at Sea”, written by Richard Rodgers for the documentary television series; followed by “Highlights from South Pacific”, one of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s most popular Broadway musicals.

Closing this historic concert was John Philip Sousa’s march, “Semper Fidelis”, the official march of the U.S. Marine Corps, followed by the playing of our National Anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner”.

Thanks to Susan Swaroff for these photos.

The next performance by the Karl L. King Municipal Band was
the annual Irish Concert on Sunday, March 15 in Decker Auditorium.

Concert of March 15, 2015

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