Author: Manning, Don
Date published: December 1, 2011
Finished at the veterans' hospital, King Bennett and Melody Morgan were driven to the main gate of the amusement park, where they stepped briskly in the cold night. King stopped suddenly, waving at the blinking red neon sign hovering over the ballroom : JANTZEN BEACH PARK - THE NORTHWEST'S MILLION-DOLLAR PLAYGROUND.
"At least your name is up there correctly like I asked The Office. But damn it," he said over the roar of the Big Dipper, "it's always something," his disgusted finger aimed up at the short-spelling of his surname : BENNET. "Those jerks," he marched angrily off. And as Melody lingered excitedly over the huge crimson symbols of her own artistic identity, she heard a sickening thud - one monstrous oomph that was the sound of the breath being smashed out of King Bennett. A flying figure had shot forth from the Golden Canopy Ballroom, rounded the Jantzen's entrance, and crashed straight into the bandleader.
The youngster sat up, rubbing his eyes :
"Mister Bennett! I'm powerful sorry, I know yuh from uur pictures. Golly, are ya hurt any? Ah'm Elmer Underhill, the saxophone player." He extended a hand as the bandleader brushed himself off. Not wanting to appear too ridiculous before the pretty, young singer, King shook the pudgy hand, gasping: "Yes ... fine ... I'm ... okay ... accident ... understand ... we've ... get started .. stick around .. sit in later.
"Gee, that'd be nifty," a grateful Elmer ran on to recover his beloved reeds.
Painfully shaky, King was nevertheless obligated to talk briefly with enthusing fans who pawed at him as he headed for the sanctuary of the small bandroom.
"Bi Bim," he at last greeted. "Say Cappy, go tune 'em up. C'mon in," he regained breath while signing more autographs. "How's your wife Nancy?"
"Just Swell, How's things with you, King?"
"Band's drawing real well." The leader removed his wet, soiled raincoat. "We're working hard, one-nighters and Army camps."
"Business is good here tonight," Bimbo offered, "they're streamin' in," he watched King scrutinize a shattered reflection.
The leader chuckled grimly at the NO JAMMING sign. "Bim, are you here to enforce this?"
"What a joke."
"What's with this kid nephew of yours?"
"He's my brother Ted's boy. He'll let him go - I've encouraged him since he was a little shaver - got him his first sax teacher. And we think he's ready."
"The job is open if the kid can cut it. We just picked up two Northwest kids, one being our new girl singer."
"How does she sing? I couldn't catch your last broadcasts."
"You'll hear - and see," King tidied his hair. "How's this kid rate with Uncle?"
"He'll be eighteen next year, but he has a couple things may keep him out. Cappy mentioned you need a trumpet man too -drafted I suppose?"
"Not this time - they're joining some other band, not sure who - couldn't care less."
"Are they good?"
"Not nearly as good as they think they are. Their kind won't even be in the music business after the War - Negative personalities. No hard feelings, if they want to go then the hell with the bastards. Besides, the trumpet spot is covered - just got a call today, so all I need is a good jazz tenor man."
"Since he was a li'l bitty tad, Elmer's been at my place every time we've had the bands out there."
"Wait. I vaguely recall a kid about sever or eight, playing a sax solo standing on a box, 'n you kept trying to send him off to bed while we played records."
Just then Elmer careened around a pillar and stumbled into the bandroom with his reeds.
"Elmer, meet King Bennett," Bimbo motioned proudly. Elmer, again thrilled, offered his hand, "Howdy!"
"We met - outside," clipped the leader, "I'm going on, talk to you later, kid."
Bimbo clapped his nephew's back and followed Kind.
"There's no radio mikes up there - don't we do the local airshot?"
"Sorry, only in summer, when the whole amusement park's runnin'. Bimbo imitated the radio patter he knew so well, "Let's go dancin' at Jantzen, on Super-Highway 99 - on the banks of the mighty Columbia River at the Interstate Bridge." The law officer was so happy to be with the famous man only minutes before the latter would stride to the bandstand, pick up that trumpet, and they would hear that band!
Melody sat wearily beside Curt and Wendy at the side of the ballroom. "How'd it go?" asked Curt?
"Those poor guys ..."
Wendy studies the singer's face. "Let's grab some coffee. There's time anyway, King occasionally prefers his girl to make a delayed entrance - showmanship."
"You girls go ahead," said Curt, "I'll tell King."
Skirting the packed dance floor, they were gawked-at and called-to by servicemen gone buy-eyes, as the ladies sat at the counter of the refreshment booth. They talked softly together, the ignored soldier slinking off in search of more cooperative prey.
Melody rotated the stool gracefully. She glanced apprehensively at her lyric cards. "I wish I knew which songs I'll be doing at the Golden Gate."
"Don't worry - and by the way, your hair looks marvellous. How do you manage when it's so darn rainy?"
"I was ready to ask you the same."
"I'm never satisfied with it." The secretary scanned the shop irritably. "I wish those obling apes over there would get lost," she said when two young sailors began waving and grinning at them.
"They don't bother me," confessed Melody.
"A good thing dear, since it's your job to be, well, sexy and on display."
En route to the bandstand, many and Al sighted them sipping coffee.
"C'mon loverboy," prompted Manny, "there she is - do your stuff."
"Not now, can'tyou see that she's upset? It'll keep - there's plenty of wild-lookin' stuff here tonight." Passing them, Al's white teeth gleamed, "That' was nice singing today, sweetheart."
"Thanks," she called after them. "He seems real friendly."
"Friendly? That's Al Vinnuci and he's obviously drooling over you - anyway, he's married and has four kids. He plays the field strictly for his own fun and games. Fancies he's some kind of gourmet of femininity."
"I know you're warning me but thanks anyway."
During a lull between numbers, everyone heard a saxophone blown loudly from the open door of the bandroom. Some snickered at the unseen player travelling up and down scales in an absurd contrast to the band's refined fare. Reaching first intermission, King cued Elmer to stand by to sit in, prompting the boy to mount the empty bandstand and thumb the music pages, while high school cronies chanted, "We want Elmer! We want Elmer!"
Musicians drifted alertly, some using this short time to take advantage of the admiring glances from pretty Portland girls. Al argued with Manny over first choice. Cappy made up a story to annoy them, "There'll be a long rehearsal tonight for all of us -Vic said so."
"What?" Manny mouthed nasty phrases and Al struggled to compete.
"All that promotin' for nothin'? See these bennies?" the trumpeter exposed them on his open palm.
"Ya givin' up?" Manny grumbles, "you'll never get it up with those inside ya."
"And we have to leave early too," said Al, "the Hell with 'em. I'm not even speaking to those gold-digging sluts." He then popped the amphetamine pills and seized the Gordon from under his music stand.
"We do need rehearsal," reminded Tommy, not in on the gag. "Do you realize we open at the Gate in three more days and the band isn't even set yet."
"Rehearse? Easy for you to say," replied Rocky, "you didn't score."
King Bennett handled the mike and the throng quieted.
"Okay Sol, take a rest," he signalled, "let's bring the kid out of the bullpen and see what he can do."
Elmer grinned happily among the other saxes, young friends in front crying "Yay-y-y El-mer!" and Bimbo the policeman was in a natural rapture.
King immediately perceived that the newcomer possessed a beautiful tone and could read like a budding demon. Taking his first solo, it was good, he didn't stray from the correct chords -this kid new music.
Melody sang a ballad with Elmer backing her up tastily before his solo that captured the ears of everyone, especially King. "Let's feature you, son - how's about Body and Soul?"
"Okay, Mister Bennett," he smiled eagerly at Cappy, "D-flat?" The pianist smiled encouragement and Elmer took a stance between the audience and the fifteen pieces, blowing with facility, with band all listening, some raising eyebrows at the youth's finishing flourishes.
"What's your name again, kid?"
"It's Elmer," he beamed with the glow of health, "Elmer Underbill," once more he offered his firm hand but this time King flinched, grabbing the mike and saying to the great road of cheers, whistles and stomps, "That was Elmer Underbill featured on saxophone - the newest member of our band."
Heading for beer during another break, Al and Manny crudely avoided the women they had before promised "a real good time." Al's brow dripped with sweat.
"How's about that punk that sat in?"
"Fair," Manny stated.
"Fair? He sight-read the book like he'd written it."
"Wait, King says no rehearsal after all," called Cappy when they re-assembled onstage, a sparkle in his eyes.
"Christ, what have we done?" Manny swore bitterly, "We blew it."
"Forget 'em, let's play some music," Al urged headedly, Manny maddened even more when helplessly viewing their former quarries wrapped in the brawny arms of two Navy men. Angrily, Manny leaned down and nipped from a bottle labelled 'slide oil', kept on hand for such emergencies, while away from his hotel and suitcase.
"So Elmer's coming on the band," Mert Grinned after the dance was over.
"This'll kill ya," Cappy chortled, "Elmer's bags were all packed - and out in Bimbo's patrol car yet."
It was 3am in King's swankily-furnished quarters in the Congress Hotel.
"Elmer Underbill," the leader repeated several times, "what a name. But," he smiled at Vic, "we've made a real find here. He plays good and is a nice, clean-cut looking kid. However, we will have to do something about his country-bumpkin name."
"What did his father say?"
"Just a local-yokel type, who is behind his son, a sawmill man he says, knows nothing about music. But Bimbo's been grooming the kid for years."
Vic reluctantly tipped a bellboy who hastily delivered a pitcher of chipped ice and some fresh glasses.
"To our future," King toasted, raising Canadian Club whiskey and almost Canadian water, "We'll have a terrific band, in spite of all the terrible breaks that've plagued us, out luck is finally turning."
"To our future," Vic uttered solemnly.
A light knock proved to be Ron and Cappy, who trooped in as requested.
"Drink?" King offered amiably, "it'll warm you up."
"Okay by me," Cappy accepted.
"Count me in," said Ron.
Soon King was serving them all a second round. He sat upright, with dignity, jacket off, expensive white silk shirtsleeves boasting glittering diamond music-lyre cuff links. He began by asking Cappy :
"What do you think of. . .Elmer?"
"Yeah, he can blow - at first I really didn't think he could play Come to Jesus in whole notes."
"Here's to the Golden Gate Theatre," toasted King, glass upheld, as they all chimed in.
Now Ron knew the luxurious feeling of belonging, as King turned to him:
"Now Cappy, for the Gate I want you to dream up something for Ron here. An original drum number, not long - work it out between you."
"We also need something special for Underbill," King winced at saying the name. "It's Friday already and we need these arrangements by 7 Monday morning when we'll rehearse - the first show's about. . .oh, noon."
"Better catch some sleep," King added, "I'm napping myself but I'm due at the airport in three hours so goodnight boys."
They finished their treat and left, feeling the liquor emerging on their own hotel floor. "Wait," the pianist urged giddily, leading Ron to an adjoining hallway and bending an ear to a particular door, only to hear Rock and his new blonde acquaintance speaking in muffled tones.
"Shall we?" Cappy raised a fist.
Both drummed a furious tattoo on the wooden door, Cappy yelling, "Open up in there, it's the police," and then they fled to Ron's room where they burst inside, gasping laughter.
Rocky, pal..." Cappy shouted brashly across the morning-filled lobby of the Congress. "Ya got fifteen more minutes till we leave - why aren't ya taking advantage of every blonde second? I would!"
A blasé Rocky ignored this, standing where Elmer sprawled, snoring in an easy chair, straw hair mussed. Beside him waited a saxophone case and a soulfully battered suitcase tied with a rope. Rocky shook his chunky shoulder, "Elmer, are you ready?"
"Whut? Oh, hi fellers," he yawned, "I feel rough as a cob."
"Don't sweat it," consoled Cappy. "In a bus seat all to yourself you can sleep good. C'moa.."
Many musicians idled about the bustling lobby while last minute details were attended to. Stowed away unseen in suitcases were hotel towels, pillows, blankets, ashtrays, signs, or whatever other mementos had been fancied.
Barry charged into the. "I hadda sleep down here in a chair. It was Rocky's turn to crow."
"I got news for you," said Cappy, "that was no crow."
"California here we come," sang someone as the bus started.
They filed out of the bus, travel-stiff, pushing rowdily into a small café, throwing themselves roughly into a booth.
Mert rubbed his silverware with his napkin, wiping the rim of his glass of water, holding up to the light - "Lipstick!"
"Only time I heard you gripe about lipstick," noted Cappy.
"There's a time and place," Mert said distastefully - the next few moments would determine whether he would stomach this food or walk out.
"Here," said Ron, "mine looks clean." Mert nodded thanks and located his pill bottle, shaking capsules into his hand an then placing the rim of the glass under his lower lip, sipping water to swallow the tablets, as his mother had hygienically taught.
"Is that Benzedrine?" asked Elmer.
"No - God no - vitamins."
"Benefits' n' Benzedrine," Cappy quoted an ironic reference to a magazine article about the wartime activities of bands and entertainers. "I'm doin' an arrangement for each of you two cats, in time for early Monday morning."
"Ridiculous," said Mert.
"Plentya time," Cappy reassured.
Ron chewed his bacon without realizing he was eating. "How about something with tom-toms, like Tommy Dorsey's Not So Quiet Please, Buddy Rich, what great drumming."
"Sy Oliver wrote it," Cappy brightened, "yes, the band sounds wild on that," he turned to Elmer. "What do you wanna do for the Golden Gate? King wants to exhibit you in full flight."
"Body and Soul, like last night?"
"Okay then, double-time like Coleman Hawkins?"
"Yup, cadenza at the end would be nifty."
"You play real good, kid," joked Cappy, "only you've gotta change that name!
The boys are drawing too far ahead again," Vic reasoned wearily that night at the Rogue River Hotel in Grants Pass, Oregon. He deposited the little black book beside Wendy. "Musicians are a funny lot. They'll come into a new band and draw weeks ahead. What band is turning loose a man that's into 'em for hundreds of dollars? I wised-up long ago - not letting anybody get in that deep is the secret."
"Yes indeedy, The Secret," signed Wendy.
"Also, enter the fifty smackers bonus that King is giving Joe for driving the bus."
"A sweet gesture."
"Too goddam expensive - a simply handshake would've -HEY," he rustled a newspaper. "There's a local broadcast on," he dropped a quarter into the radio. "Take a break, Wen, we'll have some coffee." He adjusted the radio - even his ears could recognize that familiar trumpet.
"And now," intoned the announcer, "the King Bennett Orchestra features the saxophone artistry of Rick Williams playing that be-yoot-iful melody, Skylark."
"Wait a minute - we don't have anybody with that name on our payroll. Elmer?"
"Who else? You know King when it comes to names. Now he's very high on this band. His idea is that these younger kids have much more enthusiasm and that once we're ride of these jerks Sol and Abe, and the new men join, we'll have a sensational organization. "Then," he jingled his pocket change significantly," we'll all makes us a little something."
"When are you breaking the news to them that we're crossing the Continent on two completely full pages of one-nighters?"
"Tellin 'em all now would only interfere with the Gold Gate engagement - besides, it'll be three pages. We'll issue them the new schedule after our week starts. How's Melody's wardrobe?"
"Not good enough for one-nighters - in a week's time she'd have nothing to wear but a pile of dirty rags. The same with the rest of them if those new suits we ordered don't get sent right away."
"My pal Jersey Mel says they'll arrive in time for Frisco. Our next problem is to rack up a really big week's gross. The Gate's really got to be a great show, somebody from The Office will be up from L.A. to catch it."
"Who's on the bill besides the Pied Pipers?"
"Gil Summers, some comic, but the Pipers will help us draw."
"Is the movie any good?"
"I'm confident we'll roll up a Helluva figure regardless of what's on, but there's no denying that a good flick helps. Bands are really a zillion-dollar biz now, so we've got to hold the fans for gigs, our movies, and of course the records, like it was with Miller.
"How about the bobby sox? Some things don't change - the flappers used to go berserk over Rudy Vallee."
"Well Wen, we've got Ken for the crooning and, for a girl they now want a glamorpuss."
"King's certainly covered that department."
"No longer can a band look like a bunch of bums."
"Vic, this outfit does a pretty good job of it."
"They're improving, and if they slip again, I'll just lower the boom - like King says, he's handling the music and I'm handling everything else.
The hung over pianist hunched next to the drummer in the Rouge River Hotel coffee shop. Wendy and Curt entered cheerily, anxious for a speedy breakfast. "Our last day on the rattler," Curt turned, receiving a visual shock, "..Observe this specimen."
Cappy's head drooped. "I'll admit the inside of my mouth tastes like-"
"Let me guess," Wendy said, "a motorman's glove?"
A messily-sweating Sheepdog clumped past, ordering hoarsely, "Vic says for you all to hurry up." He lifted beady eyes to the secretary, "Tonight?" under the helter-skelter mop, he beamed an almost sensual pleasure "..eagle flies tonight?"
"Tomorrow," she corrected.
Cappy whispered to Curt, "Canya spare any bennies? I've got so much writin'..."
"Sorry, no got."
"I'll be okay," Cappy ordered a jumbo coffee to go.
Once inside the bus, they heard Vic lashing out: "Sheepdog, didn't I order you to go to college?" The bandboy squatted sullenly in the aisle by Vic and King. Behind them, Melody relaxed, eyes closed. "So what in Hell do you call that?" Vic pointed indignantly, "looks like a marcel wave women used to have twenty years ago."
King merely watched the cars creeping over rainy country streets, impatient to be in motion. "Cappy, how are you comin' with the new stuff?"
"Okay," Cappy heard himself utter, pausing by the important seat, forcing a grin, "okay."
"Good. Hope you'll have some scores for copying later tonight." The sudden start of Joe's engine drowned out all voices and a grateful Cappy slipped back to his place, coffee carton atom the score paper.
"There's Tommy - take me right back to the rack, Jack," Cappy changed, seeing the trombonist reclining near the roof. "Last day for that routine, let him enjoy himself. And look at Specs, willya, sprawled out in his usual drunken disorder."
"We never see him after the job," Ron mused, "Where does he go?"
"I've given up tryin' to communicate with him," said Cappy.
"Life's fulla little mysteries." He stared unseeingly at the scenery, sipping the black brew. He then drummed on the appallingly empty manuscript. The drum thing first, he schemed. But his storehouse of musical ideas had a sign out front reading 'VACANT', while inside his head he heard only the droning engine.
Cappy slid the frozen window aside with difficulty, sucking cold air into his lungs. That motor. . . he listened to it sputter and, when Joe shifted, what was it saying? Silly, but it did have a sort of crazy rhythm. He simply surrendered to it. Yes, the rhythms would be Ron's tom-toms. For the band he heard a minor-key moan that was sort of like the gloomy Oregon mist he saw swirling outside, the brass against the saxes. He sketched on the paper, plotting the bottom sounds, the low basement parts where he'd made good use of Barry's baritone sax. He worked rapidly now, absorbed and exhilarated with this new inspiration.
"How's it coming?" Ron awoke and saw Cappy embracing his growing manuscript with pencil. "It's California," Ron declared happily as the bus made a short stop, "I'm going inside".
"Hunter," someone called to him in the café, "how do you like life on the3 road by now? Glamorous, isn't it?"
Ron slumped into a chair kicked out from the table by the feed of the soon-to-depart Sol. "I'm kinda beat, but I'm havin' a real ball."
"I'll check with you later."
"I can't even imagine getting tired of it."
"How naïve," smirked Sol, "so much crap goes on in this dumb outfit."
"To me, it's a great thing to be with King's band - Who are you and Abe joining?2
Sol cautioned, "Don't say a word - we're joining Del Stanton - we just stay on the rattler with Joe and meet the band tomorrow in Spokane."
"About fifty bucks a week more says Yes. Look man, what are you makin'?"
"...well, eighty a week.."
Sol shrank back, "You poor sucker, what a skimp. You shoulda come on for a bill twenty, minimum. They take advantage 'cause you don't know. You're not the only moron to agree to slave wages when you could've got much more. Unless you stand up for your rights, it's The Office and the leader and the manager who make all the gold in this racket. Speak up now, while musicians are in great demand. We told Kind what Del offered us, but we didn't say who it was. Then when the tightwad wouldn't top it, we gave out notice. We're joinin' Stanton for...a bill ninety."
"You'll wide-up. But money or not, this band is fallin' apart. That square Vic Lorio draggin' everybody alla time. Crabby old troublemaking Manny, can't even blow his nose anymore. Bright boys like Rocky and Barry, comin' on like they're hot players or something. Same for Al, tho he's a pretty fair first-trumpeter. Cappy, on the inside track with King, arranging cheap for the band, thinks he knows it all. Same with the Jordans who were in style ten years ago and now only blab about 'the good old days.' And to top this mess off, King himself has had it. And those greedy ignorant song-of-bitches running The Office, good old Music Ink. Grasping thieves."
"But isn't Stanton's band also book by them?"
"True, but, man, it's a different scene because of the smooth way Del handles things. And he has a much more swing arrangers' book too. Oh, we'll be lay in' for a band-battle with you cats - Del and King are old rivals. I laugh when I think of that kid Elmer blowing solo tenor in this band. Abe and I, we're breakin' up. This punk Underbill's got technique sure, but dig, he just runnin' exercises.
Late Saturday night, the bus parked at the Red Bluff train depot, where Vic ordered it "slipped clean," creating a menacing fortress of equipment inside the doorway. Band members milled about or flopped on benches, observed dully by waiting civilians and servicemen. Out in the bus, Ron and Cappy each skimmed pencil over paper.
"Excuse me, boys," said Joe, "need to have things shipshape when I pick up the other outfit." They stood aside to allow the driver to fill a shopping bag with empty liquor and soft drink bottles.
"Here's one ya can't have yet." Cappy displayed a pint of Old Grandad. "We'll miss ya, Joe," the youths shared a throat-searing drink of the whiskey.
"Say, Joe," called Ron, "my drum teacher is on Stanton's band, will you deliver a note for me?"
"Be happy to, son."
Cappy, tuned-out now, furiously altering trumpet harmonies while outside Sheepdog wrestled endless cases. Ron wrote slowly:
Dear Sticks, Surprise! Your student and no. 1 fan is with King's band! They were hung-up. Everybody's leaving Seattle after you did - Kelly Doyle with Matt Snell's comedy band. Hoping we cross paths soon. -Ron Hunter
"And here's my pillow and blanket for Sticks. It'll be cold there and we're headed South."
Ron and Cappy alighted from the Army bus and lingered, facing the red brick station. "That was a riot tonight at the Armory," said Ron, "King sure butchered that announcement about Del Stanton's band coming - even worse than he did last night."
"King had just found out about Sol and Abe joining him."
"There's Elmer, holdin' onto that delectable little redhead.
"I saw her too, but before I could move, that lucky dog tripped over his own big feet and crashed into her - first come, first served."
They passed telephones in the station, Cappy elbowing, "Look - privacy, eh?" and Ron glanced to see Specs Baker framed by the phone booth wherein he sat, coolly drinking Jim Beam over a Batman comic book.
Manny Strong, fleshy buttocks perched on his upended trombone case, at home as if on a bar stool, sang the praises of California's "package stores," - "I tellya, Oregon and Washington might as well be dry. State Liquor Board," he spluttered, "...black market...costs a friggin' fortune...the sin of takin' away a man's God-given right..."
Suddenly, an excited Vic motioned them all to assemble by the monstrous pile of equipment and luggage, King standing silently, letting his manager control matters.
"My God, why won't you people follow instructions?" Vic raved. "No matter what I say, it seems that no power on Earth. . .serve some of you right if you were drafted."
Bystanders gawked at the drama. "Oh come now," Rocky portrayed shock.
"No, I mean it, might be a damn good thing, you havta learn some discipline in the Army," he shouted - "Barry Smith!" The sax man looked calmly on, as if Vic were scolding someone else.
In the last itinerary," Vic fluttered a paper, "it says here to ship the big items from Portland - your val-a-pak would've been enough to take you - you too, Tommy, I see your big suitcase in there too. It'll be a miracle if we get it all in."
They're sending a truck too, aren't they?" asked Al.
"Yes," Vic huffed hotly, "but with this Goddam much stuff, we'll have to cram every l'il cranny of the bus too." "Maybe," Vic directly to King, "we oughta fine people who won't follow orders, make 'em feel it where it really hurts." King himself neared the jumble of equipment that astounded the redcaps. Musician waited, apprehensive of what the bandleader might do.
"For the love of...how do you like this?" the boss bellowed. Out of the clutter, he fought forth an expensive gold bag stocked with quality clubs. "What the Hell, Vic is absolutely right. Whose are these!"
Vic reddened, "Oh, those. . .ah. . .are mine...bought 'em in Hollywood. . .thought maybe ..could get in a few holes..." But now the depot filled with laughter and tension broke. "Ah. . .the new bus will be here soon. . . stick close." He slunk off with King toward the refreshment stand.
Al shrugged while Wendy and Curt observed from a safety zone - their wardrobe trunk also contained secretarial supplies. Spectators witnessed Sheepdog with awe when he carried in a towering load, the puzzle solved for them as the orchestra's name was flaunted from white lettering on the black cases.