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California in WW1 - NOW



November 12, 2018 - The Great War - The Oneonta Club - South Pasadena

 A Condensation Lecture of WW1 Given by California WW1 Centennial Co-Director Courtland Jindra


courtland jindra speaking at ononeta club resultCalifornia WW1 Centennial Task Force Co-Director Courtland Jindra speaking at Onenota Club.In 1923, a collection of twelve men in South Pasadena gathered to discuss the need for a group which would provide supportive fellowship in the area. The Oneonta Club was the result. It is reminiscent of a Moose Lodge or similar communal organization. Their November 2018, program was about The Great War. After a banquet meal, and a preview of Peter Jackson's They Shall Not Grow Old, California WW1 Centennial Task Force Co-Director Courtland Jindra was asked to "discuss the war," for thirty minutes.

While his fiancée Melissa ran the power point Co-Director Jindra tried to hit the high points, not just of the Western Front, but overall. Despite it being nearly impossible to encapsulate four years of conflict into a small bite, the audience appreciated his effort. Thankfully, a fifteen minute “Question &Answer Period” afterward allowed further explanation of several topics that were mentioned in passing.diana diaz at ononeta club resultVocalist Diana Diaz addresses the Onenota Club.

 After Jindra's talk a real treat took center stage. Diana Diaz, a singer specializing in WWI era music, performed numerous songs from the era. She also provided commentary and explanations for how the songs reflected the period and the crowd responded enthusiastically. The entire night, meal included, ran for about two-and-a-half hours. It was a very pleasant evening of information, food, and song.




Armistice Centennial Event - Hollywood American Legion Post 43 - Nov. 12, 2018

American Legion Post 43 Building, Los Angeles, California

320 pixel logo w sloganAn event endorsed and approved by the California WW1 Centennial Task Force to commemorate, honor, and educate the citizens of the Great State of California.



Presented by
The California World War I Centennial Task Force
November 12, 2018 at 1:30 pm


By Bill Betten, Co-Director of the California WW1 Centennial Task Force

reenator guard at post 34 aceWW1 Reenactor, Larry Dunn posts guard at American Legion Post 43 Armistice Centennial Event.

Besides renewing old acquaintances, I always enjoy visiting the Hollywood Post 43 American Legion Building if for nothing more than just to appreciate the architecture and its history. The nearly one-hundred-year-old building has a lot of history. Its interior walls are covered with rare headlines from newspapers and photos of its famous members. Likewise, its archives are abundant with artifacts and American treasures that few can find these days.exhibit by bill betten result

This day's commemorative program for the centenary of the Armistice, endorsed and produced by the California WW1 Centennial Task Force, strove to educate as well as entertain those who attended.

It was more than fitting that I should attend the Armistice Centennial Event being held at the American Legion post of which I am a "Sons of" squadron member, but having been asked to also play a speaking role in the program and having the honor of setting up a display, only made it that much more inviting for exhibit with viewers resultme. Though Post 43 has quite a number of World War One artifacts it can proudly boast, I was still permitted to exhibit the items I have been using over the past four years throughout Southern California for presentations during the centennial of the Great War.cww1ctf exhibit with viewer result

As has been my honor over the course of the centennial, it was a distinct privilege to observe the many faces with inquiring eyes that inspected and considered my pieces on exhibit, while learning from their display. But, it was that much more gratifying to watch these retired warriors examine and deliberated the collection. They also expressed how important it is that those who come behind take interest and grow eager to learn of the valor represented in these few items, that we Americans absorb and study the past, in order to wisely scrutinize the future.


sarah lonsert performs our national anthem resultThe program began with Sarah Lonsert performing a lovely rendition of the Star Spangled banner. As event writer and emcee, my fellow Co-Director Courtland Jindra said that he was "avoiding pontificating speeches" and only introduced and summed up the proceedings, letting "the history speak for itself."

narator jonathan flora resultNarrator Jonathan Flora speaks to those in attendance from the podium while line of guest speakers sit behind him. Using a similar format to one he had written for the centennial of the entry of the United States in the Great War, Co-Director Jindra attempted to transport the audience back to the beginning of U.S. participation. Veteran and director-producer Jonathan Flora narrated the history of U.S. involvement in the war. The program began with a lead-up to President Wilson's address to Congress and finished with General Pershing 's letter thanking his troops the day after the cease fire went into effect.

bill betten speaks resultTask Force Co-Director Bill Betten speaks at the podium while guest speakers await their turn behind him. On stage from left to right: Jennifer Crandell, Jennifer Campbell, Buddy Watson, Ken Campbell, Jeff Daly (unseen behind Bill,) Jack Kennedy, Jonathan Flora, Michael Broderick, Gerorge Cantero, Al Naipo, Donna Callaway, and vocalist Sara Lonsert (partially seen.)The American Legion provided most of the historical readers, but others helped out as well, including Al Naipo, the Chief Administrative Officer of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission.

Read more: Nov. 12, 2018 - Armistice Centennial Event - Hollywood American Legion Post 43



 November 13, 2018 - Southern California During The Great War

Glendora Public Library

320 pixel logo w sloganAn event endorsed and approved by the California WW1 Centennial Task Force to commemorate, honor, and educate the citizens of the Great State of California.


glendora  ace nov 13 atrifacts displayAs a Armistice Centennial Event the Glendora Public Library hosted Southern California During The Great War on November 13th in the library's Bidwell Forum. Co-Chair of the California Centennial Task Force Courtland Jindra presented a short lecture and power point presentation on the role played by local communities all over the southland.

Co-Director Jindra stated that it was not possible to cover the entire war in a single talk, but featured topics included:glendora ace nov 13 courtland jindra speakingCourtland Jindra speaks before the Glendora residents assembled.

— The background of the Great War, and U.S. involvement
— Californians overseas, including examples of both medal winners and the "everyman"
— How Southern California participated on the Homefront
— Southern California War Memorials

glendora  ace nov 13 standing displayThe Glendora Historical Society displayed some of their artifacts and historian Edward Garcia unveiled his exhibit These Truly Were the Brave which spotlit ten local residents who served overseas in WWI. Mr. Garcia is a Exhibit Department Supervisor at the California African American Museum.glendora  ace nov 13 lib of amer oral history project cards

The organizers were extremely pleased by the presentations and thanked all the participants for taking the time to attend.








May 27, 2019 - Heroes Grove Memorial Sign Setting & Dedication Ceremony

Heroes Grove - Golden Gate Park - San Francisco

320 pixel logo w sloganAn event endorsed and approved by the California WW1 Centennial Task Force to commemorate, honor, and educate the citizens of the Great State of California.




golden gate rock set 5 23 2019 1 result








The San Francisco WW1 Commemoration Committee recently restored a large  WW1 stone monument in Golden Gate Park and provided a new stone sign for the grove in which it sits to call attention to it and mark in perpetuity the monument's location.  On Memorial Day, May 27, 2019, an unveiling ceremony proudly gave San Francisco its first look. 
 Here California WW1 Centennial Task Force Co-Director Bill Betten interviews fellow Co-Director Sal Compagno about the event.



By Bill Betten, Co-Director of the California WW1 Centennial Task Force


heroes grove ceremony view resultGolden Gate Park Heroes Grove sign unveiling ceremony.The California WW1 Centennial Task Force Managing Board consists of many special individuals from all over the state. I consider Sal Compagno not only a Co-Director, but also a friend. Recently Sal was a part of a very successful renovation project of a significant monument in Golden Gate Park. Here I interview him about the work.

Co-Director Bill Betten: On Memorial Day, May 27, 2019, the San Francisco WW1 Commemoration Committee held a ceremony at the recently restored large stone WW1 monument in Golden Gate Park. 
Who is the San Francisco WW1 Commemoration Committee and how was it that they came to be?

Co-Director Sal Compagno: The San Francisco WW1 Commemoration Committee was formed in 2016 in preparation for the 100th anniversary of the official end of WW1, Nov. 11, 1918. The Committee then, was part of the 100 American cities designated as part of the national movement honoring America's role in that conflict. There are ten members to the committee.before unveiling result


Bill: Sal, I understand that you are on that committee and were a part of the commemoration event. Can you tell us what happened?

Sal: The Committee performed a long-needed act. There is a large stone monument, recently restored, listing those brave local men who gave their lives in the First World War. The stone was originally dedicated in May, 1919, and 100 years later another dedication was held.


Bill: I was unaware of this monument.

Sal: That was the problem. This enormous stone was well hidden in the overgrown grasses and trees which adorn this part of the Park.colorguard awaits result


Bill: What did the restoration consist of?

Sal: The recent restoration, besides removing brush and grass, was a re-cleaning of the stone, widening the area around it, and publicizing the effort of both the Park and the San Francisco Commemoration Committee.


Bill: Do you know who laid the stone originally?

Sal: The Memorial stone, I believe, was a tribute to those local Bay Area persons doughboy at monument resultWW1 reenactor Damian Stellebott considers the names on the monument.who gave their lives for the nation and was commissioned by the City of San Francisco in 1919.


Bill:So if the monument was neglected, what did you do?

Sal: Prior to May 27, in April, a group of members of the Committee took a weekend to clear and define the area for public viewing. The Park, generously, made a gravel path to the stone. What was missing was a sign, Heroes Grove, indicating the direction to the stone. The Committee collected a sum to inscribe that sign and it was dedicated on May 27.unveiling 1 resultAbove & Below: The unveiling of the new identification stone for Heroes Grove. General Myatt stads watching.

Read more: May 27, 2019 - Heroes Grove Memorial Sign Setting Ceremony Golden Gate Park



One Hundred Years of Victory Memorial Grove, Flag Day, 2019

320 pixel logo w sloganAn event endorsed and approved by the California WW1 Centennial Task Force to commemorate, honor, and educate the citizens of the Great State of California. 

By Bill Betten, California WW1 Centennial Task Force Co-Director


1 mr wilson & edith resultIf one had taken a short hike on Flag Day in Elysian Park in Los Angeles on the one hundredth anniversary of the dedication of the park and passed by the World War One monument there, your heart surely would have taken a patriotic beat at what you witnessed. A proud display by a striking color-guard, a moving rendition of our National Anthem, and heroic tales of bravery in the field all added to the remarkable feeling of dignity and gratification at being an American. This would have been enough, but the moment you met the tall and lanky president of the United States in his signature dashing outfit of navy blue sport coat and white tie, white slacks, white shoes, and white celluloid collar, topped off with a 1920's style straw skimmer, strolling up the path with his wife Edith in arm, one was struck with the added emotion of nostalgic serendipity.3 la co fire colorgaurd on the march result

As one of the Co-Directors of the California WW1 Centennial Task Force, I felt honored to be invited by fellow Co-Director Courtland Jindra, but our importance was clearly overshadowed by the attendance of dignitaries, such as Consul Generals, post commanders, and a Los Angeles City Council Member.5 la co fire colorgaurd soloist sings national anthem resultAt center Los Angeles County Fire Dept. Color-guard soloist Humberto Agurica sings the National Anthem. To his right stands California WW1 Centennial Task Force Co-Director Courtland Jindra.

The morning remained overcast as the program proceeded, which made for fine weather for sitting outside without shade. The attendees remained comfortable and attentive.

 The Los Angeles County Fire Department Honor Guard was asked to present the colors, which they did with distinction and proper decorum, but the rendition of The Star Spangled Banner sung by their baritone, Humberto Agurica, was flawless and emotion-filled, while still being gratifyingly seasoned with just enough respectful coloratura to give the piece an individual flare. His wonderful voice expressed a true patriotic elan that drifted through the grove and surely brought residents in their yards nearby to their feet.

8 audience attends to the president resultDignitaries sit in the front row of the audience and attends to the President's words.9 mr wilson speaks resultRobert Tidwell as President Woodrow Wilson, speaks the Chief Executive's words from one hundred years ago.


 All then took their seats and were welcomed by Courtland Jindra who, acting as Master of Ceremonies, introduced  the first guest speaker.

Few commemorations of this manner are blessed with the presence of striking personalities, but when President Woodrow Wilson himself, took the lectern he heartily received the plaudits of the audience. The president, recreated by Robert Tidwell, presented excerpts from his July 4th speech of 1914 and June 14th proclamation of 1916, where he first proposed and proclaimed the initiation of Flag Day. 


11 courtland presents result12 mitch o'farrell result


Recognitions and presentations were made to the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, while later City Council Member Mitch O'Farrell, of District 13, gave a rousing and informative presentation to those in attendance.

 Tom Ohmer, Historical Narator, introduced the narratives that lay out the background of the monument and Jennifer Campbell, Commander of Hollywood American Legion Post 43, Phillip Murphy, Co-President of the Citizens Committee to Save Elysian Park, and Gay Storm of the Los Angeles-Eschscholtzia Daughters of the American Revolution read excerpts from dedication resolutions, LA times articles, and the dedicatory address from one hundred years ago.

13 tom ohmer resultTom Ohmer 14 jennifer campbell resultJennifer Campbell 15 phillip murphy resultPhillip Murphy16 gay storm resultGay Storm 

18 consul general vantieghem resultBelgian Consul General Henri Vantieghem 

In a unique oration, the Belgian Consul General, Henri Vantieghem, read from a recently published book by Stefan Hertmans. In War and Turpentine the Flemish author relates the experiences of his own grandfather during WW1. The presentation was exceptional in that Mr. Vantieghem read the words in their original language, while the audience could read along in English. Rarely does one get the opportunity to hear such a creative work as this performed in the power, sonance, and rhythm of its native tongue, while also understanding its meaning.

I personally was moved by the Consul General's words of encouragement after his reading. My brief synopsis here cannot hope to encompass the thoughts and emotions expressed by Consul General Henri Vantieghem, but he was adamant to articulate gratitude to the Americans for the part they played, and the sacrifices made in the recovery of his nation in both WW1 and WW2. He also included that America is a great nation of people who should never forget the pivotal roll the United States played in Europe. In speaking to 19 canadian consul commissioner elliott resultCanadian Consul & Senior Trade Commissioner Patricia Elliotthim afterward he looked into my eyes, and with deep sincerity asked that Americans realize this, and also realize that all of Europe relies upon America, just as America depends upon Europe. He articulated that we are a world brotherhood, reliant upon the success of each other. He said that Americans must remember how thankful Belgium was and is.

17 courtland & audience resultCalifornia World War 1 Centennial Task Force Co-Director Courtland Jindra introduces the Belgian Consul General and the Canadian Consul to the audience.No commemoration of WW1 seems complete without a reading of the very famous poem written early in the war by a Canadian major who eventually would die in France in service to his sovereign during the war. Thus, it was only fitting that Patricia Elliott, Consul and Senior Trade Commissioner from the office of the Consulate General of Canada, was asked to read "In Flanders Fields" by John McCrae.

20 collecting the wreath result 

The culmination of the ceremonies came when two 21 carrying the wreath resultAmerican Doughboy re-enactors placed the red, white, and blue commemoration wreath at the foot of the Victory Memorial Grove monument, which had so recently been restored and rededicated. In the distance a lone bugler rendered forth the haunting tones of Taps. As the notes passed through the trees it made me wonder how many times in the past they had been played here and how often had mothers shed tears on this mount for lost sons. 

 The team of volunteers has done an awesome job in restoring and revitalizing this monument. All should be proud, Los Angeles should be thankful.



 22 placing the wreath result 23 doughboys salute result 24 bugler result












 Afterward, everyone commented on the success of the event while cookies, brownies, and cakes were available. These delighted our two-year-old grandson Wyatt, and soon garnered him his grandmother's admonition, still, a fine time was enjoyed by all who attended. Co-Director Courtland Jindra should be proud of his efforts and the praise he so richly deserves for the day's proceedings.2 courtland & flanders poppies resultThe Victory Memorial Grove project chief Courtland Jindra stands proudly within his handiwork. The resurrected grove, now dons its spring colors as WW1 Red (Flanders) poppies begin to show.

26 salute with bugler result 












25 andrei phil joseph resultLos Angeles City Department of Recreation and Parks Ranger Andrei Delcampo, WW1 reenactor Philip Dye, and LA City Parks Ranger Joseph Fuentes 



   10 colorguard bugler result4 la co fire colorgaurd salutes result
Above: Los Angeles County Fire Department Colorgaurd

Right: LA Co.Fire Trumpeter Rudy Gutierrez


















americus brass band cd concert poster



pays tribute to

James Reese Europe's

Harlem Hell Fighters' Band

on the 100th Anniversary of the Pathé Recordings


a CD Release Concert



By Bill Betten, California WW1 Centennial Task Force Co-Director


Unless you were given special invitation to attend the latest "CD release concert" of the The Americus Brass Band you might have missed a truly rare and exceptional treat.americus brass band 3 resultThe Americus Brass Band onstage at the premier release of their new CD. Of course, the concert was a magnet to folks like me who are one of those attentive patrons of early jazz formation who crave such fine performances. Still, the Americus Brass Band's exciting work on the music of World War One era master, James Reese Europe, should have been heard by all. (Fortunately, it still can. See below.)

americus brass band director resultAmericus Brass Band Director, Dr. Richard Birkemeier, welcomes the audience.As a band conductor myself, it is with a critical ear that I assure any listener, "a better concert would be hard to find." Besides being a performance of seldom-matched, top quality musicians, the concert was also unique in the fact that The Americus Brass Band has striven to recreate an authentic James Reese Europe/Harlem Hellfighters Band sound true to that early stage of jazz from which it sprang. But finding original sheet music to work with from one hundred years ago was a challenge that The Americus Brass Band music director, Dr. Richard Birkemeier, had spent years researching. Fortunately, the team also could make use of a limited number of original Jim Europe Band recordings.

More than just a recital introducing their latest album, The Americus Brass Band let the audience experience the closest recreation of the music for which Mr. Europe was world famous. This is significant since recordings made after the turn of the last century are only extant today through what was then the best way to capture sounds, which was using primitive wax recording cylinders or discs.americus brass band jerry wheeler resultTrombonist and vocalist, Jerry Wheeler questions the audience in song with, "How' ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm after they've seen Paree?"

Instead of employing today's highly receptive stereophonic microphones, the sound back then was collected with the use of a large horn that funneled sound waves toward a thin diaphragm at the funneling horn's small end. To be sure, a restrictive process at best. This means that Dr. Birkemeier, and his musicologists and historians had to combine efforts of sharp listening, historical research reading, and attention to the details and elements of early jazz; and apply these to the printed charts of a century ago.

The result was an astonishing recreation of the unique sound that was James Reese Europe's and his military band during WW1. This, combined with a well-written americus brass band with overheads resultDr. Birkemeier's historical overheads relate the life of James Europe and how he came to lead a machine gun company during WW1.commentary that Dr. Birkemeier read on the music and life of the first African-American to present an all Black orchestra at Carnegie Hall, made both an educationally well-rounded and entertaining afternoon.

Another treat was that this one hundred-year-old music was being recreated by the use of one-hundred-year old instruments. The band was proud to display and perform on horns constructed during the period. This is even more amazing to me knowing how far the technology of instrument manufacturing has come. Having owned, repaired, and played instruments that old myself I can easily state that it takes a master to keep, and perform on an instrument that old while sounding that well. americus brass band selwyn gibson resultGuest vocalist Selwyn Gibson provides a warm rendition of one of Jim Europe's best known tunes "Good Night Angeline" which Europe wrote with his partners, the famous Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake.The originality of the instruments only added to the authenticity of the event. In fact, after the concert, my wife asked one of the trumpeters, Pat Mullen about the french horn player. Pat was quick to point out that he was actually playing an old E-flat horn equipped with old-fashioned pistons versus modern rotary valves. The Americus Brass Band is incredible in its authenticity.

Like The Americus Brass Band, James Reese Europe strove for an authentic sound, the sound of his race, for numerous reasons, but one of the most important was how it resonated in his people, the people of Harlem. What few fail to understand is that without the creative genius and energy of James Europe, jazz, and hence, the music that followed would have, at best been trammeled, if not seriously handicapped. It could be argued that jazz never would have left Harlem and spread around the world.

It was Europe who dared to reach beyond physical and racial barriers to share his music. It was Jim Europe who introduced high-society to jazz, and it was Jim Europe who capitalized on the vocal talents of the great Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle who went on with Europe's music and stylings to build successful careers for themselves and others after Europe's passing. To represent those golden throats of the James Europe bands of old, The Americus Brass Band utilized the wonderful voices of Selwyn Gibson and Jerry Wheeler.americus brass band & selwin gibson resultMr. Gibson is invited back to the stage again in tribute to James Reese Europe as the band plays a special arrangement of "Amazing Grace" as it might have been played 100 years ago at "Big Jim" Europe's funeral.americus brass band & jerry wheeler resultJerry Wheeler gives a rousing rendition of Jim Europe's own popular creation "On Patrol in No Man's Land" where the band provided all the explosive and battle sounds while the snare drum barked out the machine gun attacks.









It can be hard for us today to understand how difficult it was in Europe's time to get a recording made. The Library of Congress website explains how simplistic and yet difficult it was to make these first recordings:


americus brass band woodwinds resultThe Americus Brass Band woodwind section exercised mightily the extreme limits of clarinet dexterity, while a part of the cornet section flutters out a jazzy Harlem Hellfighter Band growl behind them."A performer used a great deal of ingenuity to create a successful acoustically recorded performance. The artist manipulated the voice and stance before the horn, moving away from the horn for louder and higher notes to prevent distortion, and moving toward the horn to prevent under-recording soft sounds. Consequently these movements could distort the dynamics intended by the composer of a musical selection."1




Additionally, the number of instruments that the old wax process could capture was limited, so important sounds were replaced with other instruments to be made record-able. Thus Europe's musicians had to adapt, and so did the recorded sound. As Dr. Birkemeier explained, "That is why in certain songs the snare drum was supported by a set of castanets. The technology could not always pick the snare up back then."

But, the fact that Jim Europe and all his men were African-American made recording even more difficult, and it was stunning at the time that Jim Europe had contracted, several times, to have his all-Black bands recorded at all. It is fortunate that he did, for in many cases, the recordings are all that gave The Americus Brass Band scholars a clue as to where the sound should go beyond the rumors.americus brass band resultThe Americus Brass Band and its director share the story of James Reese Europe's highly successful, but tragic tale through music and commentary.

I have heard some outstanding re-creative presentations of the pieces performed by Europe's 369th Infantry Harlem Hellfighters' Band, but I consider myself blessed to have been able to attend this concert. As one with a keen interest in Ragtime and Jazz music I can say that this was a historic event in itself that had to be witnessed to be most appreciated, but, as I mentioned earlier, the chance to hear this awesome band is still available. I highly recommend using the link below to acquire your own copy of the Americus Brass Band's tribute to James Reese Europe's Harlem Hellfighter's Band in Compact Disk format.

The recital hall was filled with enthusiastic applause as the audience quickly stood at the end of the program demanding that the band not leave the stage without an encore. Dr. Birkemeier came back on to oblige, but instead of having the band set up a different song, he asked if the audience would like to hear again one of the reenactors at americus brass band concert resultWW1 re-enactors attending the Americus Brass Band concert included from left to right: Philip Dye, Robert Maxwell, Sandra Maxwell, Damian Stellabott, and Cary FarnsworthHarlem Hellfighter's Band favorites, "That Moaning Trombone," except this time he would challenge the musicians to play it at the break-neck speed that James Europe was so often prone to do. The audience cheered with delight and the Americus Brass Band grit its chops and did not dissapoint. What an exiting finish to a wonderful performance.

pat mullen & bill betten resultCornetist Pat Mullen & California WW1 Centennial Task Force Co-Director Bill Betten (also a trumpeter) chat after the concert.After the concert I was fortunate enough to pull aside the very busy Dr. Birkemeier. Though his attention was requested by others, he still took time to speak personally to each one. He was eager to share and was clearly pleased with the concert's outcome, as he should be.

As mentioned before, I spent quite a bit of time asking cornetist and trumpeter Pat Mullen, questions as to the band's make-up. Though the musicians in Americus Brass Band are highest level professionals, Pat informed me that all had donated their time and efforts to make this dream of Dr. Birkemeier's a reality. They all clearly love this project, and the music itself only makes the commitment worth that much more.

fred mcdowell mans display table resultFred McDowell discusses unique WW1 items displayed on his table, including period cornets and bugles.Pat also introduced me to an alumni of The Americus Brass Band, Fred McDowell, who was on hand to answer questions of all who gathered around his very interesting, and well-stocked, display of World War One artifacts. As a trumpet player who had previously performed with the A.B.B. for Civil War events and other presentations, Fred is very supportive of all the efforts of the band.

display table americus brass band concert result Pat shared that many A.B.B. members have to travel to attend rehearsals and concerts; some even live out of state. Most are busy with a professional music career, so the band will likely only perform this one live tribute to James Reese Europe. Fortunately, The Americus Brass Band does include several of the Europe pieces in their all-encompassing show "Top Brass." The material for that show extends from the mid-1800's to Glenn Miller in WWII.

Pat expressed that though he is most pleased to be a part of the band, he also informed me that Dr. Birkemeier was retiring and would be moving out of state soon. "We'll have to see what direction that takes the band next," he cautiously stated.

Without a doubt, no matter how changes affect the band, if you get the opportunity to hear them live, DO SO! But, even if you can't, no American library of music, personal or public, is complete without The Americus Brass Band pays tribute to James Reese Europe' Harlem Hell Fighters' Band CD.

reenactors & display at americus brass band concert resultGreat War re-enactors gather in the foyer at the display table at the Americus Brass Band concert.










1"About the National Jukebox - Acoustical Recording" The Library of Congress, National Jukebox: accessed July 1, 2019 at  http://www.loc.gov/jukebox/about/acoustical-recording


For additional information on The Americus Brass Band contact Katherine Miller, Kamstar Entertainment - [email protected]  or  Cambria Music [email protected] (310) 831-1322




California WW1 Centennial Task Force


Managing Board Co-Directors

Bill Betten
Sal Compagno
Col. Andre N. Coulombe
Hugh E. Crooks, Jr.
Mike Hanlon
Brigadier General R.G. Head, Ph.D. USAF (Ret.)
Prof. Jennifer Keene, Ph.D
Courtland Jindra
Dennis Matarrese
Major General Michael J. Myatt USMC (Ret.)
Stephen M. Payne, Ph.D.
Anthony Powell
Lester Probst
Prof. Jonathan Roth, Ph.D.
Col. Fred Rutledge 

Northern California Committee

Sal Compagno
Mike Hanlon
Stephen M. Payne, Ph.D.
Lt. Col. Kenneth Nielsen
Major General Michael J. Myatt USMC (Ret.)

Anthony Powell
Col. Fred Rutledge
Prof. Jonathan Roth, Ph.D.

Southern California Committee

Bill Betten
Maria Carrillo
Col. Andre N. Coulombe
Brigadier General R.G. Head, Ph.D. USAF (Ret.) 
Courtland Jindra
Lester Probst
Jeff Sharp

 Education Committee

Bill Betten, Master of Arts in Education, (Retired teacher DUSD, OUSD, AGUSD)
Lauren Weiss Bricker, Ph.D., Professor of Architecture at Cal State Polytechnic University, Pomona
Scott Corbett, Ph.D, Lecturer, History, CSUCI
Jennifer Keene, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of the Department of History, Chapman University
Michael Powelson, Ph.D., Lecturer, History, CSUCI
Jonathan Roth, Ph.D., Professor of History, SJSU, Burdick Military History Project Director [Committee Chair]
Miriam Raub Vivian, Ph.D.,  Professor of History, CSUB

Website Administrator

Bill Betten


Email: [email protected]

Snail Mail:
     California World War 1Centennial Task Force
     330 Myrtlewood Dr.
     Calimesa, CA 92320


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