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Cadet Band became a well-known group across region

I just had a call from a business person who lives in the Rochester, Minn. area, but whose job calls him to travel all over the country. This time the call came from Missouri. It is a lovely, sunny day outside my window and hardly any snow. I told him what lovely weather he was missing at home and wondered what it was like in Missouri.

He had been there three days. "Not great," he said. "The first day I was here there was snow and ice and I was in an accident. The lady that was driving the car slid off the road. She wasn't driving fast, so it was an accident in slow motion and just damage to the car door, no one hurt. Then yesterday it rained all day. And today, finally, 60 degrees and some sun."

The moral of the story is, stay home and enjoy the good life in upper Wisconsin.

But, summer will be with us soon and with it the summer "Hillside Concert Series" at the New Richmond Heritage Center. What made me think of that was a story and a photo in the June 2, 1906 issue of the Republican Voice (one of the earlier names for the New Richmond News) headlined "Honors For Our Cadets."

The "Cadets" were the first organized band for New Richmond High School. A group of kids had decided that they wanted a band, so they organized one, and then talked Wilson Greaton (Karen Greaton Gillespie's grandfather) into being band director. In 1906, Mr. Greaton was still directing the band, but it was now considered the high school band.

The story which follows tells the story of how, in 1906, the city was planning to find enough money to have the Cadet Band play a series of open air concerts. At a later time a bandstand was built in Glover (Library) Park, again to provide a venue for outdoor city band concerts. And finally now, for the past six years, the very popular open air concerts at the New Richmond Heritage Center.

But back to the Cadet Band: "The New Richmond High School Cadet Band this week had an especially gratifying tribute of appreciation paid to it. Harry Newton, a well knowing traveling salesman, happening to be in New Richmond a few days ago, was so impressed by the excellent performance of the young musicians that he decided at once to do his best to bring them to Albert Lea, Minn., for the Traveling Men's Convention to be held in that city next week. The matter is now up with the convention committee, and if music for the occasion has not already been contracted for, it is very likely that New Richmond will have the honor of sending her cadets to Albert Lea. No better advertisement for our city could be asked, and it is the earnest hope of everyone that the boys will go.

"Another mark of appreciation will soon be paid to the cadets by their home patrons. A subscription is being circulated among the businessmen of the city to arrange for a series of open air concerts by both the Cadet and the North Side Bands, and already a large amount has been pledged. This is an excellent idea. It will bring business to our merchants, add to the pleasure and attractiveness of our city, and serve as a substantial encouragement to our local musicians. Citizens of New Richmond will look forward with pleasure to the prospects of a series of open air concerts, and it is to be hoped that the arrangement will be successfully carried out.

"The New Richmond High School Cadet Band is said to be one of the best juvenile bands in the entire country, and under the able musical direction of Director Greaton, it is attaining a finish and perfection of execution that are usually pleasing and harmonious.

"The Cadets are planning, in addition to their other arrangements, a grand concert and entertainment to be given at Hagan's Opera House at an early date."

Mentioned in the story above is the "Traveling Men's Convention." I have not noticed anything before about such conventions for traveling men, but it seems very logical because there were obviously hundreds or thousands of men who made their livelihoods in this manner. Each had a product to sell and the transportation was the extensive railroad system. Groups of them rode from town to town, stopping off at each place, scattering around the towns to contact all the merchants of the general stores or other places of business, placing their orders, and then racing back to the train station to catch a train to the next town.

There was a series of maps, the Sanford Maps, made of all the little towns which noted each business place, and by consulting the map of a specific town, a salesman could quickly locate the places which he needed, or wanted to visit. It was a grueling way of life as the salesmen would be gone all week on their jobs. Irv's father Ervin H. Sather's first job was as a traveling salesman for the New Richmond Roller Mills selling its flour and other products.

There remains, in the basement of the Beebe Hotel building, a series of little stalls which were also used by traveling salesmen who brought wares along with them to sell. Each would set up his stall for a few days, sell what he could and then move on.

I am not quite sure where the term the "Good Old Days" came from, because most of what you read about the good old days was that the life that was accepted by all at the time as routine was what we now would consider very, very hard.