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

The February concert of the 2016 Indoor Concert Series

February 21, 2016

This was the first in the series of three indoor concerts by the Karl L. King Municipal Band of Fort Dodge.
The program was held on Sunday afternoon, February 21, at the Decker Auditorium on the campus of Iowa Central Community College.

This concert was the Band’s
annual tribute to former
Conductor Karl L. King.
     Since this year also marks the 125th anniversary of Karl King’s birth, a
special afternoon of band music was planned to include some of King’s best-known and most popular compositions, along with music that was published 100 years ago in 1916.

View the other pages in this program.

        Karl King was born on February 21, 1891 in Paintersville, Ohio.   After his childhood in Ohio, he left in 1910 at the age of 19 and traveled for 9 years with several different circuses, conducted several of their bands, and reached the pinnacle of success as conductor of the famous Barnum and Bailey Circus Band during the 1917 and 1918 seasons.

       This performance 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.

       The music for this concert included several of the compositions published 100 years ago in 1916, when Karl King was a 25-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.   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.

      Opening the concert was Karl King’s first published composition (1909), “T.M.B. March”, dedicated to the Thayer Military Band of Ohio, and was followed by his last published composition (1962), “The Home Town Boy”, dedicated to Mason City’s own Meredith Willson.

       Selections performed from 1916 included an overture, “The Altar of Genius”; a beautiful aerial waltz, “Alpine Sunset”; and a march, “Gallant Zouaves”; written by Mr. King for the actual Buffalo Bill Wild West Show.   Also included were a ragtime selection, “Broadway One-Step”, and an exciting galop, “Circus Days”.

      Two medleys were also included, representing a wide variety of King’s most popular works.  The first was “Melody ala King”, by Harry Alford, a medley of eight King compositions, including King’s most famous one, “Barnum and Bailey’s Favorite March”.    A portion of this march is also included in the closing selection of the concert, “Diamond Jubilee”, a medley of portions of seven marches written to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the C.L. Barnhouse Company in Oskaloosa, IA., a major supplier of King’s music to the world.

      Special guest soloist will be Robert Patton, baritone, from Gowrie.  Mr. Patton attended the University of Northern Iowa before joining the U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants in Washington, D.C.  During his twenty year career in the military, Patton soloed with the National Symphony and the Boston and Cincinnati Pops Orchestras.  He also performed with the Washington Civic, Baltimore, Wolf Trap, Northern Virginia and Annapolis opera companies. In 1991 he returned to Gowrie IA and became editor and publisher of The Gowrie News, the fourth generation owner of a 110 year-old family business.  He has since retired from the newspaper after a 20-year career, but is still very active and much sought-after as a vocalist throughout the Midwest.

Mr. Patton performed two selections with the Band.  First was “Alone With You (Solitude)”, which King wrote and published in 1916.   Next was the Vincent Youmans classic, “Without A Song”, arranged by Karl King to feature Jack Dodgen from Humboldt, a popular vocalist with the Fort Dodge bands during King’s tenure.

Thanks to Susan Swaroff for these photos.

      This historic concert closed in the usual way with the playing of our National Anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner”.

The next performance of the Karl King Municipal Band was the March 13 Irish Concert.

March 16 Concert
Today's Karl King Band the Karl King Page Online Photo Archive of Fort Dodge Bands