According to a story uncovered, while Dr. Dean C. Dutton was pastor of Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church (1919-1924) he learned that Al J. Palmer was living in Oklahoma City and called on him to see if he could come into Wesley Methodist Church and help with the "Epworth League" (youth organization of the M.E. Church).
Mr. Palmer was a composer and, according to the story of this source, had written several of the songs that Al Jolsen sang during his career. Records do indicate Jolsen worked for a time with two Palmer brothers (Al and Joe) but they parted company around 1905.
The first available program of a Band concert found by researchers in 1975 (for the history book written then), was dated June 19, 1923 under the direction of Al J. Palmer.
The boys band created had 38 pieces and costumes in deep red with black trim and Mr. Palmer wore an all white suit. They had stunts and band rehearsals and gathered on Sunday evenings for concerts. People who belonged to other churches came to hear the band on Sunday nights. The band was composed of youth of the church and at that time it was one of the few bands ever organized by a church group. Palmer also directed an orchestra at Wesley.
Some identified with the band includes: Ed Fuller, Bob Sherman, Ruhl Potts, Harold Klein, Harold Hamlin, Warren McCreight, Everett Bradshaw, ....
In 1927, as Wesley turned ground to build their new sanctuary, the band was there under the direction of Palmer. An ad from the time period is for "Prof. Al J. Palmer, Instructor of Band Instruments". He listed he was Director of Wesley Senior and Junior Bands and was available for "special songs written to order...expression in dramatic art...words written to music and music written to words...entertaining material furnished for amateurs."
Interestingly enough, several of the band members could be heard over a local radio station WKY every Sunday evening in 1931 as members of the Oklahoma City Concert Orchestra under the direction of Arthur Weitz ("On WKY Every Sunday Night", Oklahoman (Aug.30,1930):40.
|Boys Band, Wesley M.E., OKC, cal 1923. |
Is the man shown here one of the Palmer's who once worked with Jolsen in Vaudville?