Many of Apalachicola’s elder citizens have happy memories of playing in the Chapman High School Band during the 1940s and 1950s.
According to Margie Solomon, the bandmaster, a Mr. Ludwick arrived in Apalachicola and set about to recruit musicians from both high school and grade school.
She remembers he was bandmaster of Chapman High School and went around to all the families and he asked parents to help him including the parents of students like Solomon who attended Mary Star of the Sea Convent School.
“My mother was delighted,” said Solomon. “I played the clarinet. We went to Tallahassee and competed.”
Dot Hill, who was also a clarinetist, agreed that the band was wildly popular when she was in school. She also played baseball and was a majorette.
“We were all in everything. There were so few of us,” she remembers.
Red Sizemore, who played drums and trombone, said the band had 6 a.m. practices before school two or three days a week. They would march downtown to the bandstand near Buzzett’s Pharmacy. They also played at town meetings, dedications and other ceremonies as well as at high school sports events and marched in parades.
Sizemore said Dr. Conter was a big supporter of the band and attended all of their rehearsals and even accompanied them as a chaperone on some trips.
Sizemore and some friends got into trouble during a competition in Tallahassee. “When the show was over, me and a couple of trumpet players put on a show and we had a pretty good crowd, even a couple of policemen,” he said.
Unfortunately the bandmaster didn’t approve and “chewed the boys out” after driving past their impromptu performance.
Although she was not involved in this venture, Sizemore said Dorothy Rolstad, also a band member, was an instigator in some of their pranks. “She was always getting me in trouble,” he said.
In addition to competitions in nearby towns like DeFuniak Springs and Tallahassee, the band members made trips to the beach at Indian Pass.
Solomon said they would make a lunch and catch the bus to Indian Pass then walk to the main beach and on down to the dock where they ate in the shade under the platform. When it was time to go home, they either waited for the bus at the Indian Pass Raw Bar or caught a ride with somebody’s father.