December 5, 1914 – A group of young men in Caspar organized the Sequoia Band, under the guidance of director John Murray.

Group of young men in band uniforms carrying musical instruments

Sequoia Band of Caspar, c. 1915. Top row L-R: Elbert Montgomery, unidentified, Juel Jensen, unidentified, Ragnar Wahlstrom, unidentified, unidentified. Front row: Lester Moody, Jack Casey, Bill Brady, unidentified, unidentified, Bill Nylander, Dave Brinzing, Henry Van Ahnen. (Gift of Vince Johnson)

This band made its public debut at the 1915 New Year’s Eve party held at the Caspar Athletic Club. Ninety club members attended the event. In addition to music and dancing, other attractions included motion pictures shown by Roy Brady, songs by Jack Casey accompanied by Mrs. J. Crawford, a piano duet by Helen and Beatrice Foster, and a recitation by Thomas Craig. A meal was served at 11:30pm, and at midnight, the New Year was ushered in by the blowing of horns and a great deal of merry-making. The Sequoia Band’s music was the highlight of the evening.

For their next event, the Sequoia Band organized a benefit ball at the Caspar Athletic Club to raise money for band uniforms. The event was a huge success, attracting a large crowd that enjoyed the excellent music and a fine supper served by the ladies of Caspar. This marked the beginning of a series of successful dances, grand balls, and public concerts over the next two years.

At the 1916 Fourth of July celebration in Mendocino, the Sequoia Band performed at the Grindle Park dance platform (located near where the fire station on Little Lake Road is today). A free dance was offered in the afternoon, followed by an open-air ball at night (50 cents for gentlemen, ladies free). The Beacon reported that no band in Mendocino county could beat the Sequoia Band “when it comes to furnishing snappy, up-to-date dance music in perfect time and tune. The Caspar boys were one of the big hits of Mendocino’s Fourth of July celebration.”

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