You’ve all heard of America’s grand bandmaster John Philip Sousa, composer of the stirring patriotic march, “The Star and Stripes Forever.”
But you may not know that Middletown, Ohio, has a personal connection to the renowned man of music.
His name is Frank Simon.
Simon was a Cincinnati native born on “November 26, 1889, but was raised in Middletown,” according to an entry in the MidPointe Library Digital Archives. (1)
At age eleven “he started studying cornet...When he was 14 he became conductor of Buckles’ Band, which became known as Simon’s Band…”(1)
As Simon grew, so did his reputation as a superb musician.
In the early 1920s Simon was “approached by a senior executive at Armco Steel [in Middletown] to begin a company band. Simon reluctantly agreed and by 1929 the Armco Band was a household name...NBC and WLW broadcast performances every Sunday afternoon across the nation.” (2)