Music

Big Bands and Bandmasters

When were black bandmasters first appointed to black infantry regiments?

In 1908 the first black bandmasters were appointed to the U.S. Army Ninth and Tenth Cavalry regiments and the Twenty-fourth and Twenty-fifth Infantry regiments. President Theodore Roosevelt signed a special order in November ordering black bandmasters assigned to the four regular military regiments; white bandmasters were to be transferred out of these units as soon as possible. Four bandmasters were then promoted to the rank of chief musicians: Wade Hammond, Alfred Jack Thomas, William Polk, and Egbert Thompson.



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