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CRA124 -- Kenneth Resur Papers


1.50 Linear Feet
May 1983


Mr. Kenneth W. Resur, former bandmaster for Froebel and Horace Mann High Schools and the U.S. Steel Carillco Band, donated the Kenneth Resur Collection to the Calumet Regional Archives on November 12, 1982.

Property rights in the collection are held by the Calumet Regional Archives; literary rights are dedicated to the public. There are no restrictions on access to the collection.

Linear feet of shelf space: 1.50 linear feet.
Number of containers: 3 boxes.
Calumet Regional Archives Collection 124
Processed By: Stephen McShane
Date: May, 1983

Scope and Content

These records document the history of musical organizations and activities in the Gary area from 1926 to 1973. Kenneth W. Resur, director of several notable bands and orchestras for five decades, donated the collection. The records include correspondence, programs, photographs, and scrapbooks, focusing primarily upon the U.S. Steel Carillco Band, the Froebel High School Band, and the Horace Mann High School Band. Correspondence (1926-1973) details the various programs, concerts, and performances of the bands and contains locations, date, and administrative information on various musical and entertainment events. In addition, letters of thanks and congratulations constitute a large portion of the correspondence series. Correspondents range from former high school students to Gary school leaders, U.S. Steel officials, and local community organizations. Next, concert programs (1929-1963) provide data regarding performers, musical numbers, choreography, and photographs of participants and locations. The series contains programs from performances at Gary Memorial Auditorium, Froebel Auditorium, and other local halls as well as events such as the Milwaukee Music Festival, U.S. Steel's "E" Pennant Ceremony, and National Band Conductors' Conferences; the series furnishes a useful record of band activity in the Calumet Region.

Photographs (1933-1965) constitute a major series of the collection, depicting bands in marches, parades, concerts, and band contests. Also, many portrait photographs present a visual record of band members and leaders. In addition, most of the photographs contain local background scenery, furnishing visual details of halls and auditoriums in Gary. Finally, several scrapbooks (1936-1958) include photographs, programs, and newsclippings, and complement the records in the above series, particularly with information about baton, flag, and cape marching programs directed by Anne Resur.

The Kenneth Resur Collection not only documents the activities of several award-winning bands and orchestras, but also provides a valuable record of the history of musical organizations and educations and education in Gary, spanning the first half of the twentieth century. Researchers should note that historical information on Kenneth and Anne Resur is located in Box 1, File Folders 1 and 2. Additional education and music collections held by the Calumet Regional Archives include the Northwest Indiana Symphony Records (CRA 111), the E.A. Spaulding Papers (CRA 029), the Mark Roser Papers (CRA 033), the Allegra Nesbit Papers (CRA 089), the William A. and Mildred H. Wirt Papers (CRA 101), the Guy Wulfing Papers (CRA 107), and the Gary School Administrative Center Records (CRA 132).

Historical Sketch

A native of Portland, Indiana, Kenneth Ward Resur eventually became known as Gary's original "Music Man". After attending Ball State Teacher's College and Chicago Musical College, Mr. Resur began his teaching career at Gary's Froebel School in 1929. Within one year, he expanded the Froebel Orchestra from thirty-seven to 108 members, and led the orchestra to a first place victory in the Century of Progress competition in 1933 and 1934. In 1937, Mr.Resur assumed the post of director of the Froebel Band. Under his leadership, the band won aa total of sixty-seven first place awards, including the Indiana State Band Contest. In addition to directing Froebel's band, Mr. Resur began leading the U.S. Steel Carillco Band in 1937, and continued in that position for twenty-seven years. During this period, the Carillco Band appeared at numerous war bond rallies and veterans hospitals and gained a reputation as the world's finest non-professional band.

In 1949, Mr. Resur moved to Horace Mann High School in Gary, where he led the band to first place awards at the World's Circus Parade and Band Contests, and thirteen consecutive Midwest Band Tournaments in Chicago's Riverview Park. These accomplishments led Fritz Krieger, Chairman of judges at Riverview to comment. "It would be blasphemy to criticize this band. Without a doubt, this is the greatest parade band in the entire Midwest." The Horace Mann Band received numerous invitations to appear in parades, concerts, field shows, and band clinics throughout the nation.

During his career, Mr. Resur's bands won a total of 351 first place awards, including nine Indiana State Championships, fourteen Chicagoland Music Festivals, twenty-seven Midwest Band Tournaments, seven Wisconsin Spectacle of Music contests, and two national, two international, and two world titles. In addition to directing the Carillco, Froebel, and Horace Mann bands, Mr. Resur led the central Baptist Church Choir, the Gary Elks Civic Band, and the Sears Band (His son, Ward Resur, served in the vital roles of manager and coordinator for many of these events). Throughout his years of directing bands, Mr. Resur became known for his discipline, character development, and leadership in dealing with his many students.

While at Froebel School, Mr. Resur met his future wife, Anne, a student playing first chair violin in the orchestra. Anne Resur later formed a majorette corps at Froebel and directed groups of baton twirlers, flag swingers, and cape swingers. She designed her own costumes and created her own routines for the Majorette as well as an elite group of marchers, the Resurettes. One of Mrs. Resur's greatest successes came at the 1963 World Band Contest in Milwaukee, when the Horace Mann Band and Majorette won first place in competition with 108 bands. In addition to their band activities, the Resurs performed as concert violinists, playing violin duets for radio, churches, schools, clubs, wedding, and dinners throughout the Calumet Region for fifty-two years.

In 1960, Mr. Kenneth W. Resur suffered a near fatal accident while trimming a tree at his home in Porter County. He recovered from the accident (producing a brochure entitled "My Miracle" about his recovery), but eventually decided to retire in 1964 after forty years directing bands in Gary. Ann Resur joined her husband in retirement that same year. After a career filled with awards, trophies, and national recognition, as well as entertaining local residents and guiding hundreds of students to appreciate music, Kenneth Resur had earned the title, "Gary's Music Man".

Box File Description
1 1 Biographical Information, Kenneth W. Resur, 1954, (1970-1993)
2 Biographical Information, Anne Resur,(1930-92)
3 Ward Resur Information, ca. 1950-1970
4 Ken Resur, Articles, 1941, 1961, 1968
5 Ken Resur, My Miracle, 1962
6-9 Correspondence, (1926-1991)
1 10 Historical Information, Horace Mann Band, (1954-1959)
11 Historical Notes, Carillco Band, n.d.
12-13 Concert Programs, (1929-1963)
14 Concert Addresses, Carillco Band, 1950, 1952
15 Score Sheets, (1934-1963)
16 Tributes to Ken Resur, 1968
64-65 Scrapbooks, (2), (1936-1945)
2 1 Scrapbook, (1), 1953-1958
2 Membership List, Gary Municipal Chorus, n.d.
3 U.S. Steel News, July, 1942
4 Froebel Flash, March 21, 1947
5 Goodfellow Club Review, May, 1948
6 The Making of Steel, 1964
7 Newsclippings, (1934-1971)
8 Scrapbook, Fairless Works Ground Breaking, 1951
Scrapbooks, (2), (1938-1955)

Drawer File Description
3 Poster, (1), Horace Mann Extravaganza, 1961
Poster, (1), Horace Mann Musical Revue, I.U. Gary Center, n.d.

Subject Tracings

  • Bands
  • Education
  • Froebel High School
  • Gary--History
  • Horace Mann High School
  • Music
  • Orchestras
  • Parades
  • Resur, Anne
  • Resur, Kenneth
  • Resur, Ward
  • United States Steel
  • United States Steel Carillco Band