The YHS Band Program
By Travis Walthall (5-19-05)
Within the Ylem Tornado annuals, I was able to find that there was originally an orchestra instead of a band. Going through the annuals, I was able to find out why the orchestra died out. The oldest annuals are from1927 and 1928. Within both of these years, the school only had an orchestra. This orchestra consisted of only eight people in the 1927 annual. 1927 was the first year a music group was an organization within the school. The following year, the orchestra had lost one person, making an only a seven person orchestra, but with the size of the school, it seems to be about right. The next annual in the set of annuals was the 1932 annual. Within this year, the orchestra had grown by four people, and having a conductor by the name of Mr. Slayer. The following year, the orchestra had grown immensely by nearly 50% to 20 musicians. With the evidence of the photograph within the annual, the ratio between wind and string instruments was about 50/50. Although the low bass and baritone sections were seemingly taken up with wind instruments. (The collection of annuals did not have another annual in the following years until 1939) With the six year space, the orchestra had grown in numbers. There was 31 musicians, having a new conductor leading them, Mr. Sherman, and having another music class/subgroup created. This seems to be the start of the end for the Yelm orchestra, for this new class/subgroup being the pep band, an band that consisted of mainly wind instruments.
After the creation of this pep band, the orchestra (and all string musicians) started to decline in numbers. For the next three years was recorded within the Yelm Tornado annuals that you can see what happens to the orchestra. Within 1940, the orchestra seemed to have a little comeback. With it still growing slightly, one more to the number of musicians, and there was not a pep band recorded into the annual. The string musicians also had a cello player, as for the previous years, was not seen. With the turning of another page and another year, the orchestra gets split. This year, there is a band and an orchestra with different musicians within them, making it known that there is two different music classes. This is yet another step to the end of the orchestra within Yelm High School. The two music classes still grew, but some students were integrated within the two of them if they were a wind instrument player. This makes the actual orchestra even smaller for the integrated students could have gone to one side. There was yet another skip in the annual set, for the missing of the 1943 annual. Although the 1944 annual was in the set, this is the year that the orchestra takes the hardest hit. With the coming of another conductor, Miss O’Bryon, there is only a band. The only survivors of this outcome were in a string ensemble of only four girls. The next annual does have an orchestra within it, but again, it was integrated, and with only five string instruments within the orchestra. The next annual in the line, 1949, had the orchestra gone as with no orchestra for the following annuals in the set.