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Hart’s All- Girl Band


girlsban‘As we passed through Louisville, I noticed a tremendous crowd lined up on the depot platform. Nothing in particular caught my attention until someone in the crowd shouted “there they are; there they are; I found out later that we were a littlemore famous than we thought ourselves to be.”
Author and band member Charlotta L. Forder, recalling the bands 1923 tour.

The All-Girl Band had its beginnings with a Hicksville jeweler, Mr. O.V. Hart, who in 1915 gathered 5 of his music students together for the pleasure of sharing good musicianship. As the band added more instruments and musicians, it’s reputation spread to surrounding counties. With World War I depleting the ranks of Hart’s highly respected Boy Band, the burgeoning All-Girl Band (locally called Hart’s Girl Band) aptly filled the void. Successful street concerts led to requests to ballyhoo area fairs, because Hart’s Girl Band always drew a crowd. 1918 marked their first annual tour.

By 1921, twenty-four band members were making yearly tours into different regions of the United States, eventually traveling in a special B & O coach with the bands name on its side. Musicians earned $40.00 a week beyond expenses and held membership in the American Federation of Musicians. They were advertised as being the country’s first (and some say only) traveling professional all-girl band.

During their heyday in the 1920′s, Hart’s All-Girl Band crisscrossed America’s South, Plains, Midwest, and Atlantic regions, and Canada’s Maritime Provinces. Their venues included state fairs, conventions, the Vaudeville circuit, and Murphy’s Circus where they accompanied the acts. Among their stops were New York, Chicago, South Dakota’s Corn Palace, and Atlantic City. Their ten weeks on the Boardwalk were highlighted by performances for President Woodrow Wilson and members of the Paul Whiteman Band.

We can only guess at the impact Hart’s Girl Band had on their far-flung audiences. In northwest Ohio, they paved the way for countless other groups and set a high standard of musicianship that lasted for generations. With their disciplined delivery of the classics and much vaunted presentation of popular music, Hart’s Girl Band won over listeners, changing the way they thought about music and female musicians.

Headlined 1920 Corn Palace season, one of few female groups so honored; At times billed as Scottish Lassies or The Ohio All-Girl Band.

Thanks to the Hicksville Historical Society for the above information.

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