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Vintage drums provide education history and generate mystery

June 4, 2014 by

They have sat atop a shelf for as long as Randy Dary can recall, a set of old vintage drums occupying the music room at A.D. Hay School in Lakeview.

While tagged with Lake County School District #7 inventory numbers, their exact origins have been lost to time, a detailed search of LCSD#7 historic records revealing nothing as to when the set was acquired.

Their age may not be known, but they show the scars of years of use, with student names and dates scratched into the wood sides of each snare drum and the large bass drum that is still in use in the Daly Middle School band room. Images in the Sagebrush Echo yearbooks show the drums being used by Lakeview High School marching bands as early as 1946, while dates etched into the drums extend as far back as the 1950s.

The drums feature calfskin heads, further confirming their age, as calfskin was rarely used for drums after the 1940s. Names such as Jim Clause, Carroll McCormick, Mike Harlan, James Donovan, Kim, Alvin, or simple sweetheart graffiti like MB + ST forever preserve a free moment in classes when students decided to tag a drum rather than listen to the lesson. Back then it was vandalism, today it preserves a history of schools in Lakeview.

These drums tell a story of at least the past 70 years of school bands and music classes in Lakeview, used for marching bands during football games and parades and countless recitals. Anyone who has taken a music class in the past decades has likely at one point made an ear-piercing racket with one of the old drums. They are a nostalgic glimpse into the musical past of the community.

Today they rest silent atop shelves in the classroom that Dary began teaching in around 1986. He stopped teaching band in 2005, but the drums remain. Marching bands have existed on and off at the schools for decades.

“They (drums) have always been here as long as I can remember, and always in the same condition,” said Dary.

That condition leaves much to be desired from the perspective of antique instrument collectors due to years of abuse from student drummers, but what they may lack in condition they more than make up for in nostalgia.

Dary has reached out to music repair shops, historical societies and district offices for help, because the future of the antique drums is now in question. Room must be made, and Dary intends to give them away to a good home, preferably someone with a passion for history and the necessary skills to restore the instruments.

Those wanting to give these Lakeview historic items a good home or have a story to share of their origins, please contact  Dary at 541-947-2137.

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