AL CHYMIA SHRINE BRASS BAND

General consensus contends that the first band was organized in 1912 as a name change from the “Drum & Bugle Corps”. There is a non-dated picture on file which portrays Noble E. K. White as Director, and records show that he became a member of Al Chymia after moving his membership from Kosair Temple (Louisville, KY) in 1912.

In 1913, the Band went to Dallas to represent Al Chymia at the Imperial Session, and it has continued to represent Al Chymia with honor at many Imperial Sessions and parades since that time.

 

 

Noble White served as Director until his death in 1931, at which time Noble Harry Dillman was selected to lead the band; and held that position until his death in 1954. During his tenure as Director, Noble Dillman composed the “Al Chymia Temple March”, a number still played today by many Shrine bands. The group joined the Southeastern Shrine Band Association (SSBA) in 1938 – which would have been during the time Noble Dillman served as Director.

Another composer, Noble R. Roy Coats, became Director in 1954 and served until his retirement in 1970. During his time in that position, Director Coats composed several pieces for the band – most notable among them the popular march “Colonel Memphis”.

In 1971, the position of Band President was created with the election of Noble Paul Miller to that post, along with the selection of Noble Bob Baker as Band Director. Baker served as Director through 1976, being succeeded in 1977 by Noble Leland Marsh. Baker again assumed his role as Director in 1978, serving in that capacity until his retirement to Heber Springs, AR, in 1989.

Others serving as Band Director since Baker’s departure include Nobles Andy Ledbetter, Mike Riddick, Al Nelson, G. Vernon “Kowboi” Drane, and the talented Allen Goldsmith.

In 1989, a 16-piece “Big Band” was formed as a part of the Brass Band Unit; and they inaugurated an extremely successful series of monthly ”Tea Dances” (held on the first Sunday of every month in the Mosque Auditorium). The “Noble Sounds”, as the group is now known, has developed a reputation as one of the best dance bands in the area; and consequently, attracted quite a loyal following of dancers and music fans across the region.

The Brass Band is justifiably proud of its history and of all the fine Nobles who have served and played through the years. The unit has received many trophies and awards of excellence at both Imperial and Southeastern conventions, competitions, and parades. At home, the Brass Band always performs at ceremonials, stated meetings, parades, and other Masonic and civic events throughout the West Tennessee jurisdictional area of Al Chymia Temple. It is looking forward too many more years of exciting work and play to make the task of serving one of satisfaction and pride.

 

Ronnie Coletta – President
Johnnie Fine – VP
Gary Bus – Secretary/Treasurer

Meet Every Tuesday @ Shrine

Past Band presidents
Paul Miller ( 1971, 72)
Saul Lewis ( 1973)
Jack Gray ( 1974 )
Charles DeGraff (1975, 76)
David Shedd (1977)
Nelson Rowell (1978)
Stan Stegman (1979)
Gerald Pickens (1980)
Al Stanton (1981)
Joe Weller (1982, 86)
Vince Tobias (1983, 96)
Bob Burns (1984)
Bill Compton (1985)
Roger Alberson, Jr. (1987 through 1992)
Vernon “Kowboi” Drane (1993)
David Cox (1994, 95) – through whose efforts the band acquired its present quarters in the Temple, a room large enough to hold all the equipment and STILL practice in
Bill Jason, P.P. (1996)
Ronnie Coletta (1997 – 2002)
Joey Williams (2005)
Veron Drane (2006)
Johnnie fine (2007)
Joe Wright (2008)
Rob Robinson (2009)
Johnny Fine (2010)
Johnny Fine (2012 – 2016)
Ronnie Coletta (2017 – 2020)