Question I don't want to sell my tenor. I've had this horn for almost 20 years and love it. But I would like to learn a little more about it, if you're able to tell me. It's an unusual one-it's very darkly lacquered and I'm not even sure it's made of brass. It looks as though someone may have left it in a hot car at some point in its life as there are some odd patches in the lacquer. It sounds great although it can be a real challenge to play (a member of the St. Louis Symphony actually agreed with me on that). Do you know much about the '39 Collegiate?
Answer Hello Scott,
here is some great stuff from the web...
Frank E. Holton
World Class Musician and Musical Instrument Manufacturer
Frank E. Holton, ca. 1920
Among the leading musicians of the late nineteenth century, Frank Holton emerged from humble West Michigan roots to become not only a celebrated trombonist but one of the most successful musical instrument manufacturers in the world. From his days as a performer with Barnum and Bailey’s circus band and the great bands of Ellis Brooks and John Philip Sousa, to his later years when the company he started supplied the world’s greatest musicians with the tools of their trade, Frank Holton brought great pride to his friends in Kalamazoo and across the nation as both a musician and as an innovator.
West Michigan Roots
Born in Allegan County, Michigan about 1858, Frank Holton was the son of Mary A. and Otis M. Holton, a respected local farm family. Frank’s parents were great lovers of music; his mother played organ and his father was a singer in the village choir. While still in his early teens, Holton became an apprentice in his uncle’s blacksmith shop in Battle Creek. It was there that he was introduced to the sound of a brass band, which he found absolutely magical. Soon, he joined the Allegan Band and was learning to play cornet, baritone horn and trombone.
“Mr. Frank Holton of Kalamazoo, was the successful individual contestant on the trombone at the band tournament in Detroit. Frank is indeed a fine musician.”
—Kalamazoo Gazette, 15 June 1883
Academy of Music Orchestra
By 1880, Holton was living in Kalamazoo and working as a blacksmith building carriages for Cahill & House, but playing music was his primary interest. In June 1883, Holton was a member of the newly formed Academy of Music Orchestra in Kalamazoo when he entered the State Band Tournament in Detroit. After persuading the Battle Creek Band to accompany his performance, Holton won first prize for his trombone solo, which earned him a tidy $80 cash prize and substantial recognition among his peers. It was during this time that Holton met Miss Florence Weldon, a young music teacher who happened to be boarding with Holton’s uncle. The couple hit it off immediately and married early the following year.
During the 1880s, Holton performed with a variety of regional and national bands, including Hi Henry’s Minstrels, the Aurora Orchestra of Grand Rapids, Ellis Brooks’ New York Concert Band, and Barnum and Bailey’s circus band, among others, and his reputation soon began to precede him. He again entered the annual State Band Tournament, but this time was told he would not be allowed to play the trombone because other contestants refused to compete against him. Undaunted, Holton entered as a baritone horn player instead (an instrument he was far less familiar with) and after some quick practice, still managed to claim a second place prize.
John Philip Sousa’s Band
During the summer of 1892, Holton was a featured trombone soloist with Ellis Brooks in New York when he accepted an offer to join his longtime friend C. Z. Bronson and others in John Philip Sousa’s new band. Holton toured with Sousa’s great band during the fall of 1892, performing more than one hundred concerts in just eleven weeks, including an October appearance in Kalamazoo at the Academy of Music. The following year, Holton was first trombonist and a featured soloist when Sousa’s band performed at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.
Holton’s “Electric Oil”
By 1896, Frank Holton was back with Ellis Brooks in Chicago, working as both a business manager and trombone soloist in Brooks’ Second Regiment Band. It was during this time that Holton developed his own unique slide oil for his trombone and began sharing it with fellow musicians, soon realizing that this might lead to a new business venture. “As a musician, I had gone further than my fondest expectations,” Holton recalled in a 1934 interview, “but even though I had practiced strict economy, it seemed almost impossible for me to save any money out of my earnings. It was at this time that I decided to start a band instrument business.” Holton knew he had many friends in the industry who would support his endeavor, but feared the old adage that a professional musician could not succeed in business. “This in my own mind seemed ridiculous,” Holton confessed, “yet I did appreciate, that it is rather difficult for a man at forty years of age to begin at the bottom and build a new business.”
Frank Holton & Co.
Holton opened a small shop at the corner of Clark and Madison streets in Chicago and began selling second hand musical instruments along with his popular trombone slide oil. Frank worked nights as a trombonist in one of the many Chicago theaters while his wife gave music lessons to help pay the bills. Frank’s musical instrument business began to grow, slowly at first, but steadily. Before long, Holton hired a repairman and began to offer instrument repair services to the local musicians. Holton soon started designing and manufacturing his own brass and percussion instruments, including several models of his famous trombones and cornets. He expanded his business to a larger space in 1900, and in 1904 incorporated his operation as Frank Holton & Company, then built a new three story factory building on the west side of Chicago.
By 1918, Holton’s operation had outgrown its Chicago location, so he expanded again and moved his entire operation to the small town of Elkhorn, Wisconsin. As business grew, so did the city of Elkhorn, thanks for the most part to Holton and his company. By the 1920s, Frank Holton & Company was employing hundreds of factory workers and thousands of sales agents from coast to coast, while doing the largest amount of business in its history.
I'm a Professional Jazz Saxophone soloist recently retired from 23 years with the USAF Band Of Flight, WPAFB, OHIO, experienced in performance, technique and equipment. I'm not a buyer/seller or dealer. I have 40 years Alto, Tenor, Soprano and Bari Saxophone performance experience with additional years on the Flute, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Bass Guitar, Piano, Drum-set, Guitar and Voice. I'm a third generation professional military musician, my father, Bill Koeller(1939-1997) was in the USAF 1958-1962, and played Jazz Hammond B-3 organ from 1957-1997, and my fathers Uncle, Alfred Koeller (1912-1993), was a professional Acoustic Bassist in the Army Air Corps in WWII, and also performed on Jazz Guitar, Hammond organ, Piano and tenor saxophone.
Professional Saxophone Soloist, 23 total years with the USAF Bands, 6 years with the USAF Band of Flight, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, performing on Tenor, Alto, Soprano, Clarinet, and Flute. 4 years in Japan, at Yokota AFB with the USAF Band of the Pacific. An Avid Composer and Arranger for the Night Hawk Protocol Combo. Former Lead Alto Saxophonist with the USAF Night Flight Big Band performing the music of Glenn Miller as well as other hits of the Big Band Era. I collect LP records of Jazz, blue's, classical and rock, and have over 12,000 records.
Organizations USAF,Phi MU Alpha Sinfonia, Men's National Music Fraternity, Johnny Mack Super Big Band, Tom Daugherty Orchestra, Kim Kelly Orchestra, Dayton Jazz Orchestra, Eddie Love Big Band, Gem City Big Band, Jazz Central Big Band, Shin Sings Orchestra, Kim Kelly Orchestra,USAF Night Flight Jazz Ensemble, Different Hats Big Band, Jimmy Baker Blues Band, This Side Up, Freelance, KING KOELLER Quartet, Jazz Central Big Band, GB Work, Sax On The Web,
Publications Saxophone On the Web;
Anchorage Daily News;
Augustana College Public Radio, WVIK;
Education/Credentials North Texas State University School of Music, Jazz Studies 1982-1986
Lead Alto, Lab bands 1982-83 and small group leader 1983-1984,
Jazz Radio Host WVIK 90.1 FM NPR affiliate Rock Island, IL
United States Collegiate Wind Band European tour 1980
Augustana College, Rock Island IL, Liberal Arts Music
Mentors/Teachers:My father Bill Koeller, a Jazz Hammond B-3 Organist (1939-1997)
Great Uncle Alfred Koeller, Acoustic Bass 1912-1993
Awards and Honors Paul Shartle Musician of the Quarter Spring 2008;
Glenn Miller Festival, Clarinda, Iowa featured soloist;
McDonald's All-American Band and Jazz Ensemble 1979;
US Collegiate Wind Bands,Paul Lavalle Conductor, tour of Europe,1980;
John Phillip Sousa Award, 1980 Dimond HS Anchorage, Alaska;
USAF National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star;
USAF Achievement Medal with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters;
USAF Good Conduct Medal with 6 Oak Leaf Clusters
Past/Present Clients Performed with, Bob Hope, The Platters, Four Tops, Jimmy Dorsey, Crystal Gail, Helen Ready, James Williams, Dallas Jazz Orchestra, Jack Jones, The Mills Brothers, the G-Clef's, Lionel Hampton at Carnegie Hall, Performed for the King Of Thailand 2005, Tom "Bone's" Malone, Roy Hargrove, Tommy Turrentine, Performed for President Gerald Ford, President George W. Bush, The Maguire Sisters, The USO Girls-Andrew Sisters Tribute, The Four Lads, Lincoln Berry, The Dayton Jazz Orchestra, Louis Bellson, Buddy DeFranco, Walter Bishop Jr, Sadao Watanabe, Bobby Shew, Pete Jolly, Quad City Jazz Ensemble, Augustana College Symphonic Band, Jack Scott, Catfish Jazz Society, Intrigue-Boston Wedding Band, The Mark Herbert Little Big Band, The Pacesetters Big Band, The Ambassadors Jazz Ensemble, Pacific Showcase Big Band, Jimmy Dorsey Big Band under the direction of Lee Castle, Ronny Scott Orchestra, Big Al's Hot Dance Orchestra, The Dayton Sidewinders, Tom Daugherty Orchestra, Johnny Mack Super Big Band, Ken Peplowski, Eddie Daniels, Buddy Guy, Roy Hargrove, Warren Parrish, John OMeara Jr., Dave Holcomb, Albia Silva,Vinnie Demartino, Clon VonFitz, The G Clef's