In Poor Man's Guide, Issue #3, I explored the much forgotten Kitchen Kazoo Bands of the early 20th Century. These makeshift orchestras would perform entire concerts on kazoos plus funnels, curtain rods and anything that could be found in a kitchen. (If you haven't gotten the issue download yet, you're truly missing out!)
Recently, I've acquired even more kitchen band items, including this fantastic Chicago Sun Times press photo from April 17, 1952 featuring the Abalon School PTA Kitchen Band (above). From left to right: Mrs. Alice Phelps (washboard), Mrs. Rochelle King (washboard), Mrs. Ida May Wilson ("trombone") and Mrs. Edith Christensen ("cake sifter sax").
Closer inspection of the two horns shows some more detail. The trombone appears to be a standard trombone with a kazoo and funnel attached. (Many of the kitchen kazoo bands would use retractible curtain rods.) The saxophone is a lot more fun looking. The kazoo seems to be attached to an elbow hose piece which then runs down a rolled tin pipe and into a cake sifter. Several tin ice cream spoons are soldered to the sax as dummy keys.
If that wasn't enough, I also discovered an actual program from a concert of the Kitchen Band of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Fort Plain, NY. It shows how serious these performers were. The entire show featured medleys, soloists and even some sort of kazoo bagpipe quartet!
Scroll down. I've posted all four pages below the sponsor. Enjoy!
Photos: The Kitchen Band of the Methodist Episcopal Church Concert Program
Part of the Shane Speal Collection
Unfortunately, the program is undated. I'll be digging deep into Google to see if I can find any more history of this forgotten band.