2-371 To Fred A. Holtz, February 14, 1941

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: February 14, 1941

To Fred A. Holtz

February 14, 1941 [Washington, D.C.]

My dear Mr. Holtz:

I have just read your letter of February 11th, requesting an interview with me, or with someone proposed by me in connection with the re-instrumentation of Army bands.1 I will be glad to designate an officer with whom you might talk, but I do not think anything of a helpful nature would be accomplished at this particular time.

There has been a great deal of publicity regarding Mr. Stokowski’s offer to help us in the present expansion of the Army, much of which is misleading. He is working on the development of two band groups for two replacement (training) centers in California. There are to be 22 of these replacement centers, and each will have a training band. Mr. Stokowski offered to undertake the training of the nucleus for these two bands, and along with it he wishes to make some experiments of ideas he has on the subject. This has led to many statements in the press of one kind or another. I am giving you the facts.2

Therefore I do not think there is any necessity for your discussing this particular question at this time. When definite representations are made and the matter of re-instrumentation is actually being considered, I will be very glad to have you give your views to those concerned with the decision in the matter. At the present time matters of such paramount importance are pressing us all to an extent that makes it inadvisable to anticipate discussions before the issue has actually been raised.

Faithfully yours,

Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, General Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.

Document Format: Typed letter.

1. Holtz was president of the National Association of Band Instrument Manufacturers. His letter to Marshall is not in the Marshall papers.

2. Leopold Stokowski wanted to create more “typically American music” for the bands. A nucleus of forty Regular Army bandsmen from Coast Artillery and other units in California would train fifty new musicians at replacement centers. Reinstrumentation and rescoring of music would make the bands more suited to open-air playing in a modern army. Certain woodwind and brass instruments such as the clarinet and French horn took too long for a one-year recruit to learn, were too difficult to play on the march, and could not he heard over the noise of mechanized vehicles. Stokowski wanted to replace these instruments with saxophones and the newer American-made fluegelhorns and melophones. He also proposed that popular dance music, folk music—including Negro spirituals and the works of Stephen Foster—supplement traditional march music. With the aid of the motion picture industry, Stokowski hoped to produce training films to instruct new bandsmen. (New York Times, January 25, p. 10, and April 6, 1941, sec. 9, p. 7.)

Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland, Sharon Ritenour Stevens, and Clarence E. Wunderlin, Jr.(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 2, “We Cannot Delay,” July 1, 1939-December 6, 1941 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), pp. 423-424,

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