Back in 2004-ish, fellow VFMA Alum Jeff Tobin visited me at my new home in Virginia. I had purchased a reconditioned Teac reel-to-reel tape deck and I thought it would be a blast to thread up some of our old radio work as well as some of the VF Band recordings I’d been carrying around the world with me since we both graduated in 1976.
Since I already had a personal web server running in the house, I put up a few of the recordings – there weren’t that many that got digitized that weekend – so that I’d be able to access them from anywhere. It was for my convenience.
Fast forward to a year or so ago. I pointed out to some of my fellow alumni that I had amassed and posted on my personal site quite a few digitized concerts. Word started getting around. Rather than make people click through my personal web site, I decided to register a separate domain name at my own expense that would be just for these recordings. As I did more digitizing, they’d show up there and people could listen or download them on demand. I could also accept content from other Bandies.
The problem was what to call it without infringing on VF’s good name. I thought about it for a while. There was one phrase that came to mind that encapsulated the VFMA Band experience for me.
When asked, “What company are you assigned to?” we’d all respond “Band, Sir!” I suppose the other non-Band cadets, corpsmen as we Bandies derogatorily referred to them, used their company followed by the obligatory “sir.” As in “A Company, Sir!” or “D Troop, Sir!”
However, when the corpsmen wanted to ridicule us for enforcing our high standards and, from their perspective, being sticks-in-the-mud, they’d point, laugh and say “Band, Sir!” in an insulting fashion. I remember this distinctly when the aforementioned Mr. Tobin and I were marching off one hour of a ten-and-ten on the Main Area. We were making the best of it and doing it by the book; synchronizing our movements, marching back and forth across the main area in step, executing our about faces, and rifle manual movements perfectly together. I doubt that any Main Area tours had ever been marched like that before or since as it’s usually done lackadaisically.
Anyway, I remember hearing multiple loud sneers of “Band, Sir!” coming out of the windows of the corpsman barracks and from onlookers as they walked by. It was both an insult and a badge of honor.
But a bigger badge of honor. By far.
So that’s how and why I chose BandSir.com as the domain name for this new collection of music and memories of the Valley Forge Military Academy Band experience.
BandSir.com is a non-commercial site dedicated to the historical preservation of the VFMA Band program over the years. This site is neither affiliated with nor supported by VFMAC in any way. Opinions expressed in the comments are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Webmaster or the administration, staff or faculty of VFMAC.
What that means is that I make no money off this web site. Never have and never will. My only interest is in preserving the rich heritage of the Band and its people.
It runs almost exclusively on open source software: Ubuntu Linux Server, WordPress and supporting software. The underlying virtualization engine is VMware Workstation 15 Pro running under Windows 10 Professional, both purchased by me and licensed to me. The hardware is a hodgepodge of pieces and parts that have been accumulating in my basement for a couple of decades jammed into a single fancy case. It’s not the heftiest computer in the house, but it’s a close runner-up.
So that’s the story then and now.
Dan Wolfe, 74 & 76JC
Deep thanks. A superlative honor you render VF bandsmen and alum of generations from the origin.
Dan, this track 5, concert 3, 70-71 is a cornet-round that would be called at VF football games!! I distinctly Tim Erdman calling for it occasionally (we didn’t want to repeat too often)–Erdman, Hoffman, Detweiler?) , and the entire Corps and opposing side would go quiet when they heard the incredible sound. VF played some enormous civvy high schools in those days, and they were completely awed by the music they heard from the VF sidelines. Wonderful that it’d show up on a VF recording! Interestingly, Duke wouldn’t sit with us at football games, I suppose trusting we’d make right choices; a dangerous proposition.
I have some old vinyl of the band I would like to donate to the cause. Who can I send them to? I can send you a list of titles and release dates if that would help.
Jeff, you can send them to me, if you want to. I have many of them already on the site. So if you want to send me the titles at DanWolfe.US@gmail.com, I can do a quick check and see what I’m missing.
Thanks much for the offer, sir!
Dan – I was made aware of this site over the reunion weekend Oct 2017. Thanks very much for doing this. It is very much appreciated. We weren’t half bad. It gives me the chance to share the music with my Mom which she really loves.
Hey Bill! Nice to see you online! Enjoy the site. I still have quite a few things to add, but there’s still plenty to keep you busy.
Not a VF alum, but spent six years in a military school band (Oak Ridge in NC). Attended MSBF five years in a row, and I can remember the excellence of the VFMA & College bandsmen. Danny Jaynes was the director then, and he seemed to be a pretty serious fellow! I still play today (sax) in community bands. Sadly my Alma mater (ORMA) has fallen down with enrollment, which of course influences the number of cadets who could actually play. So, no band to take the field anymore. Anyway, neat site and great way to remember the VFMA band experiences you VF alums had.
Hi, Dan. What a wonderful endeavor requiring so much work on your part. I was referred to you by Vincent DeMarro. I am interested in tracking down any recordings done of The Hallelujah Chorus, a joint concert with the Valley Forge Military Academy Chorus and the Ellis School performed at the Valley Forge Chapel. I am not certain of the number–it may only be one. I know there was one in1963 but thought there might have been one in 1965. (I graduated in 1965 from Ellis.) Do your sources go back further than what you show? I so appreciate your effort and look forward to hearing from you.
Good morning and Happy Thanksgiving! Thank you for your kind words about the site.
All I have is posted to the BandSir.com library. Unfortunately I have no record of those particular events. I’m happy to digitize and post recording should they be made available to me.
Enjoy the day and great to hear from you!