Mahanoy City has had a rich musical heritage going back to the early days of our community. Victor Schertzinger, Michael Slowitsky Edwards and Danny "Freebo" Friedberg are a few of the native sons who have been nationally prominent. Professor John Jones, Marshall "Ducky" Martin, Bill Becker, Bill Mitchell and John Unsinn were known throughout the region . There are many others.
Two local musicians who used their talent to serve in the United States Army were Sergeant Frank Whitchey who served as an army buglar from 1908-1938 and Sergeant Major Hartman Beynon.Thanks to Cynthia Lou Beynon Sakshaug for providing the pictures and biography of her dad.
Trumpet Player, Hartman Charles (Dubo) Beynon
In 1937, at the age of 7, he began taking music lessons from a Mr. Gorman in
Shenandoah with a rented cornet. His grandmother, Margaretta Tanner, eventually
saved up her money and purchased the cornet for her grandson for the grand sum of
$5.00, alot of money back then!
His favorite teacher and greatest music mentor was Mr. Bill Becker, the Mahanoy City
High School band teacher. He took lessons from Mr. Becker for many years.
Growing up, he and his mother, Priscilla Tanner Moucheron, teamed up and performed
together at various Mahanoy City churches (like the Methodist church and the
Congregational Church and St. Paulʼs, etc.) for their many social functions. She was a
talented self-taught piano player, who played by ear, and he was a youngster known to
many as that “young wizard on the cornet.”
Dad told me a funny story that he was often
asked to play the then popular song, “Maybe,” at these functions & the joke was always
the announcer saying, “and now our young wizard on the cornet will play.......Maybe.”
At age 13, and an 8th grader at Pine Street School, he was already playing with the
Mahanoy City High School Band. His elementary teacher would let him out of school
early, so he could walk to the high school for band practice. And during World War II, he
was often excused from school to go to the cemetery on the hill to play Taps at the
funerals of returning hometown armed service heroes.
He played a cornet solo onstage at the Victoria Theatre during his high school
graduation in 1949. That same year Mr. Bill Becker arranged to have the Army Band
Leader from Ft. Belvoir, VA come to hear him play so that young Hartman would not
have to go to Virginia to audition (a long and expensive trip back then). Thanks to Mr.
Becker, Hartman entered the 356th Army Band at Ft. Belvoir after basic training in 1950.
He was a featured trumpet soloist with the band until 1954 when he auditioned and was
accepted into The United States Army Band in Arlington, VA (Pershingʼs Own).
During his career with The United States Army Band, he played trumpet in the
ceremonial band, the big band orchestra, and The Herald Trumpets (who play fanfares
for Washington diplomatic occasions) at the White House and around the country and
world. He also marched in the presidential inaugural parades of Truman, Eisenhower,
Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, and Carter and sadly, in the funeral procession of
I remember so vividly as a child my Dad telling me how beautiful Jacqueline
Kennedy was on the night of the Presidential Inauguration Ball and how no one at the
Ball could take their eyes off of her loveliness and how at the funeral procession, she
looked so sad, but still so beautiful.
Hartman also played Taps as President Kennedyʼs
body was moved from his temporary grave into the permanent grave with the Eternal
Flame at Arlington National Cemetery.
For many years, he played Taps at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington
National Cemetery when U.S. Presidents and other international leaders laid wreaths in
honor of the fallen.
In1963, Hartman was designated the Principal Bugler of the United States Army.
In 1969, he was selected to be the Sergeant Major of The United States Army Band and
Enlisted Band Leader.
In thinking back over his musical career, he said he vividly remembers two moments as
being the biggest thrills of his life. The first was when he conducted The United States
Army Band on the balcony of The White House. The second was when he conducted
The United States Army Band on the stage of the Victoria Theatre in his hometown of
Mahanoy City, PA for the townʼs USA bicentennial celebration.
I guess you CAN go home again!
written by Cynthia Lou (Beynon) Sakshaug,
daughter of Hartman C. (Dubo) Beynon
P.S. My Dad is still regularly playing the trumpet at 80 years old. He has played with
several community bands, plays Taps for local funerals, and is the trumpeter for our
church. In fact, heʼs playing the trumpet at Sunrise on the mountain here for our
churchʼs Easter sunrise service!