Mahanoy Musicians

 

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 Kennedy.

 

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 March 2012

 

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!