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Lenoir High School Band Collection

Identifier: DC0251s

Scope and Contents

The file contains information on the reunion of members of the Lenoir High School Band on November 8, 1997. The file contains newspaper clippings regarding this reunion, photographs taken at the event, a copy of a ticket to the Reunion Concert, the brochure from the reunion concert (which also contains a wonderful history of the band), an audio CD of contest recordings, and envelopes for the Capt. James C. Harper Scholarship Fund. The photographs came from the estate of James C. Pfohl. They include 2 postcards, one of the Band Building and another of the Band and Boy's Choir. There is an original photograph of the band and choir postcard image, 4 images of the band building including an interior shot of the band room, and photographs from 1936 of the band and individual images of J. C. Pfohl and Alfred Vorherr. The oversize photographs include a 1936 image of the band inform of a truck-trolley, one with Capt. James Harper, A. A. Harding and James Pfohl, one of the band on stage and one of a group of North Carolina Band Directors. The oversize material is a poster for the Reunion Concert of the Lenoir High School Band. The CD - The Tradition Continues:Lenior High School Band Contest Music, 1924-1977 is housed with the audio collection (CD-003). Lenoir High School Band|Harper, James C.|Pfohl, James Christian


  • Creation: 1997

Biographical / Historical

In 1921, Captain James Cunningham Harper managed to get the American Legion to donate 24 instruments to the Lenoir High School Band in Lenoir, NC. Captain James C. Harper was a wealthy scion of one of the local furniture families and a Davidson graduate of 1915. At the same time, he agreed to give some of his time to the high school "just to get things started." The Captain stayed for fifty years and devoted his entire life and family fortune to the idea that "a handful of mountain children in North Carolina deserved to have a conservatory education absolutely free of charge." The band's music building boasted 18 practice rooms, a gigantic rehearsal room, offices and storage rooms, locker rooms for boys and girls, and a library full of music, records, and scores. The band itself had three sets of uniforms, as well as a fleet of buses and instrument trucks to transport it to events around the region, including parades, gubernatorial inaugurations, and halftimes of the Carolina-Virginia football games. The band boasted five full-time faculty members in 1954. As a result of Captain Harper's devotion, the Lenoir High School Band produced the tuba player of the Minnesota Orchestra, the principal bassoonist of the Dallas Symphony, a successful New York free-lance flutist, the composer in residence of the St. Louis Symphony, a percussionist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, a prominent North Carolina trumpeter, and a professor of clarinet at the University of North Carolina. One of Captain Harper's most outstanding band members was Joseph Lee Robinson. Mr. Robinson was solo oboist of the New York Philharmonic and prior to that he was principal oboist for the Atlanta Symphony and also taught at the North Carolina School for the Arts. He grew up in the small town of Lenoir, North Carolina and graduated from Davidson College in 1962. That same year, he was selected to receive a Fulbright grant to study government support of the arts in West Germany and to meet and study under the great 20th century oboist, Marcel Tabuteau. Harper conducted the Lenoir High School Band from 1924 until he retired in 1958. In 1978, Davidson College became the recipient of an endowment set up by Harper in 1928 for the Lenior High School Band. According to the terms of the endowment, if the high school ever ceased to exist, the money would be transferred to Davidson. Lenior High School no longer existed after school consolidation in 1974 and the $203,000 was transferred to Davidson. Harper was honored an honorary degree from Davidson College in 1964. Harper died in February 1986.


2 folders_oversize (2 folders + 2 oversize)



Immediate Source of Acquisition

NOTE: See Captain James Cunningham Harper's Manuscript Collection (DC051) for more information on the Lenoir High School Band.

Processing Information

Processed on 04/10/1998

Lenoir High School Band Collection
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscript Collections Repository