The History Of the Walker Valley Marching Band,Inc.......
In 1982 George Kremer, a resident of Walker Valley and a member of the Walker Valley Fire Department had an idea to start a marching band. The intension was to have a band for the fire department to march to during parades that wouldn’t cost anything and at the same time provide a leisure activity for those who enjoyed music. It’s very meager beginning was with borrowed drums played by George and 4 other fire department members, Ed Moran, Eddie Edwards, Philip Edwards and Rich King. The first parade they played at was in Walden, N.Y. at a firemen’s parade. As the parade season wore on it was realized that they needed to grow and due to the busy lives of adults some of the firemen’s children, and others from the community began to join. Georges’ Life Partner, Susan Sohni began helping with the more youthful version of the band. Together they raised funds to purchase fifes, drums and uniforms. The first Glockenspiel (bells) was purchased and Susan tapped out the first song later to be known as #1 The Marines Hymn. Bob Hill, Pine Bush Schools Director of Music helped the band by writing and sometimes teaching the music and before long the band had 13 traditional marching songs. In 1985 Mary Webb had joined the band as a member of the Color Guard. Previously she had helped the band fundraising and belonged to the Walker Valley Ladies Auxiliary. The Auxiliary donated the first banner for the Walker Valley Band in 1983 or 1984. No member has ever paid anything to be a part of this band and it remains the same to this day. In 1988 George and Susan began retiring. The practices and parades were then led by members Mary Webb and Ralph Schubert Jr. throughout that summer. Thinking that the band may not have a future George and Susan set up a scholarship fund for every child that was in band at the time to be given at each of their graduations. Mary Webb decided to try to preserve the bands future and consulted with a long time friend and attorney Samuel Eager Jr. of Goshen. His generous donation of time helped us form a not for profit corporation. Ralph Shubert Jr. was not 21 years of age at the time so his father Ralph Schubert Sr. signed the corporation into being with Mary Webb and on August 28, 1989 the Walker Valley Marching Band, Inc. was born. Its first Board of Directors was set up with Frank Wood as President, Vice President - Victor Baumann, Treasurer- Fran McClintock Secretary- Gladys Smith and Music Director/Manager- Mary Webb. In 2010 Fran McClintock and John Valk were elected as the first Trustees to protect the corporation. Mary remained as Music Director until 1997 and added 4 more songs and Christmas music to the repertoire. She returned to help the band as Music Director again in 2008 until 2011, during that time she added 2 more songs (a total then of 19 marching songs) and the Star Spangled Banner.
This very proud award winning band has played and performed at countless Firemen’s Parades, Memorial Day, 4 of July Parades, St. Patrick’s Day and a variety of Christmas celebrations . The band has always come to the aid of the community by doing Little League parades, Parades for support of our Military, Veterans from Castle Point, Veterans Day and individual Veterans. It has supported the Autistic Walk, Senior Games and Arthritis Walk. It has helped in recent years the Relay for Life (American Cancer Society) and much more……..
The band has been supported by countless parents and community members who have stepped up over the years to be a part of its Corporate Board and volunteers. In 2012 the band will celebrate its 30 Anniversary….A true testament that one person with an idea can make a difference and touch the lives of Thousands of children and adults…….Thank you George A. Kremer! and it can be perpetual …….Thank You Mary Webb!