Prior to the band contest, our band was engaged as escort for a Knights Templar Commandery bound for the Triennial Conclave held at St. Louis, Missouri. We were in fine condition when we arrived, and made a very good appearance. The band received congratulations from all over the country from citizens and bandsmen alike, when it wheeled about in its different formations while playing on parade. The engagement lasted a week and there was plenty of playing to be done; it seemed these Knights Templar never went to bed, because we were kept up all night, serenading other Commanderies. There were at least a hundred bands in the city that week. Hearing the different groups play and mixing with their members, I learned much. And it was here I first met Fred Weldon, who came down from Chicago with the Second Regiment Band, at the head of the Chicago Commandery.
Gilmore's famous band was then playing at the Exposition, and all my spare time was spent listening to his wonderful concerts, which were an education for me. I heard Ben Bent play several solos, which also gave me more food for thought. He was an excellent cornetist, with the most natural and musical tone I had ever heard. One morning Mr. Gilmore invited every band in town to report at the fair grounds for a massed band concert, and there must have been a thousand or more musicians playing under the direcion of the great bandmaster. It was a wonderful experience, and my enthusiasm for band music mounted higher and higher. My! but I was proud to play under him! Perhaps some of my readers were present at this massed band concert, and remember the occasion.
This engagement was a great experience for us all, and we returned to Indianapolis with a wider scope of knowledge, and a much better band in every respect.