Boy Scout Band Trumpet Gift to Interesting Scout Executive


Well, I have to admit I don’t know where to put this story but I will put it here for all of you. I have uncovered a sweet trumpet and sweet story of the original owner. I am still in the midst of putting the whole story together and would generally ask for help from anyone that can provide me or guide me to more information…. But here it is!


Vintage – Classic – Respected – Recognized – Presentation Quality – 1925 Conn 22B New York Symphony Trumpet


Original Owner played for John Philips Sousa and Victor Herbert and other famous musicians at Willow Grove park while he attended college from 1914-1916. Herbert acted as a father figure even taking him to silent movies of the day. And, he had an in with Edward Bok, Editor of Ladies Home Journal who was a big fan of the arts. He studied to become an Engineer and entered the service signing up and training to become a member of the 2nd round of Rough Riders. This group was never put into action though. After the war he moved to Minnesota and worked for an up and coming food company there. He started a Boy Scout Band and soon became the area’s Scout Executive. He personally corresponded with Daniel Carter Beard even asking for the Indian Names of local places to use for starting a chapter of Order of the Arrow. The Band gave him the trumpet in 1925 confirmed by the hand engraved inscription on the horn and the serial number. Most parts seem to be there and it is in exceptional condition. I have it planned to send away for an expert to make sure everything is working correctly. The original case comes adorned with the three decals from the 1935 National Jamboree/Silver Anniversary and two differently addressed name tags consistent with everything else. I am working to make sure I have all the details confirmed but thought I would share what I have so far.





What’s the name of the town that’s engraved on the horn?

By ISCA87L on January 16th, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Austin – Austin, Minnesota

By glassman1986 on January 16th, 2011 at 8:50 pm

[INDENT]I have had the trumpet “thoughtfully restored”. I have written a short summary of my research into the connections of life to the trumpet owner.[/INDENT]
The Austin Boy Scout Band presented a Conn gold-plated New York Symphony trumpet to James E. Prevratil in recognition for his efforts over the last few years and to give him something special. The 22B was something special and for a past tuba player that could blow hard, there was never any doubt that this leader would be heard when needed. The Boy Scout Band was started soon after James’ arrival in Austin Minnesota in 1921. He also was scoutmaster and took a job with Hormel as the sports director. He instantly made a bond with the Hormel family as Jay and John were board members of the local scout council. James became local Scout Executive which was a paid position. Through his leadership the band started with 22 members then grew to 50, the 80, then over 100. James soon created a senior band for the older more advanced players. Now there were two bands! These bands played at nearly all of the social events in town and soon began to be called on to play outside their immediate area.

What made this group so unique is James started with all novice players and taught them all himself as a group and in private lessons. He also found ways so that none of the scouts had to pay for their instruments. James was able to get the local American Legion and other donations to fulfill the demand. Even as the size of the bands grew, James still was primarily the instructor who forfeited much of his “own” time for this. In 1924, they played at the Minnesota State fair which drew National attention. The attention pleased most but concerns were raised locally as soon the Music Players Union drafted a letter requesting them to not play the events that might compete with the employment of bands made up of Union musicians. This did not stop invitations to play at the Sesquicentennial Celebration in Philadelphia and a Montana Round-up in 1926.

James’ parents were both from Bohemia and immigrated to the United States. His father was a tailor and raised James and the other children in rural Minnesota. Before the end of James’ high school, they moved to Des Moines where James graduated from Valley Junction High School. He always played music and sports excelling at both. James attended Drake University, Drexel, Naval Academy, played minor league football, ran track (5 mile), fought in WWI, made some recording for Victor Records, and toured with Pershing’s AEF band post armistice.

Perhaps the most influential time period for James Prevratil was 1914-1916, when he was in Philadelphia and had his summers free, found his way to playing for John Philips Sousa, Victor Herbert and other famous musicians of the time. He notes that Victor Herbert acted as a father toward him even taking him to silent movies. There were a few pictures in Victor Herbert “papers” of Victor with Charlie Chaplin.

At some point James became acquainted and carried on a correspondence with Daniel Carter Beard. Beard a co-founder of the Boy Scouts of America lived in Suffern, NY, just about 100 miles north of Philadelphia. Beard was often seen at Philadelphia scouting events and had correspondence with Bok found in Beard’s “papers”. James had stated that Edward Bok looked out for him. The connections to James seem natural. In fact the whole Philadelphia criss-crossing paths of notable men most at the pinnacle of their career is what makes the impact of knowing all these men so great for James who was in his early 20’s and able to absorb it all. The coincidences continued when John Philips Sousa was asked to write the Boy Scout March (and did) by Dr. Charles Hart in 1915. Dr. Hart was the president of the Philadelphia Area Scouts since 1911. He was part of the Executive Board of the National Scout Council in the early years as well was Daniel Carter Beard. At the same time period of his request for the Boy Scout March he asked Dr. Robert Tait McKenzie, executive board member of the Philadelphia Council who was friends with Baden Powell the other co-founder of the boy scouts and Dr. James Naismith inventor of basket ball, to make the Boy Scout Statue which is still well known. Hart started the Golden Book of Scout heroes, The Philadelphia Boy Award, and created the system of troop summer camping and endowed the famous scout Hart Reservation now renamed Hart Camp part of the Musser Reservation.

Dr. Hart was also on the executive committee of the Philadelphia Orchestra alongside Edward Bok who also was president of the $1MM endowment campaign for the orchestra between 1915 and 1920 and Dr. Hart was the treasurer. Bok at this time, was near the end of his run as editor for the influential Ladies Home Journal. Bok was moving away from the smaller operations and spending more time on different pursuits. In 1920, at the pinnacle of publication, 2MM readers and $1MM of advertising, he left as editor and retired to play. Bok’s “play” was misunderstood and scoffed at by the professionals of the day as whimsical and even worse that his Dutchism was coming out. Bok indeed came to the United States from the Netherlands with his parents. His parents had lost all their money before the trip and found life difficult in America. Bok made something of himself, and at “play” after his retirement, wrote his autobiography which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1921. The Bok story is grand and should be known by all. Victor Herbert was experiencing some great moments of his life as well. After years of playing and composing, he started his own band in 1904. Then, in early 1914, along with Sousa, Irving Berlin and others Herbert co-founded the American Society of Composers Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). He won a landmark case in 1917 giving composers a right to charge performance fees. Herbert was the Vice President and Director of the ASCAP.

Herbert >>Berlin >> Chaplin >> Sousa >> Bok >> Hart >> McKenzie >> Naismith >> Baden-Powell >> Beard >> Music >> Scouts >> Passion >> Influence >> Leadership >> Insight

Now, James braces for a change and leaves to fight the war in Europe! Engage in the battles of Combria, Marne, Ainse, St. Mihiel, Meuse-Argonne and be gassed damaging your eyesight.

James not only taught these young scouts music but exposed them to many personal foundation and character experiences as part of the scouting program. But James was able to pull from more experiences than the average man had and did. He influenced many young men to find what they were good at and leverage whenever possible to succeed. One of his first scout musicians was Luther M. Noss. Luther advanced to the senior band and was one of the few chosen for special engagements. After high school he started at St. Olaf College but eventually completed his education and embarked on a music teaching career that led him to Yale University. He became a Professor Emeritus their and helped develop their Master and Doctorate music programs.

Another of the young scouts who became a musician was David R. Martin. He was part of a group that James targeted as soon as they entered scouts to become the youngest Eagle Scout. There were claims of this which may have helped his selection as one of three Eagle Scouts chosen from a nationwide search to accompany Martin Johnson on an African Safari and then write a book about their adventures. The idea came about by George P. Putnam (married to Amelia Earhart) who was a publisher and named Honorary Scout of the BSA. Putnam actually accompanied the safari as well with his son David and provided the money for a third Eagle Scout to attend. The other two Eagle Scouts chosen were Douglas Oliver and Robert Douglas. David Martin attended Harvard and then built on his cultural experiences while on the safari and became the director of the International Rescue Committee.

The third and fourth continued scouting together and were leaders of an explorer post by 1950. Allen Dee and Frederick Rayman Jr. were respectfully the explorer advisor and committee member. Frederick Rayman Jr. was known as Fritz and became a dentist practicing dentistry for 40 years in Austin and was just the second owner of the trumpet until 2011.

Attached files

By glassman1986 on March 6th, 2011 at 11:16 am

I’m distantly related to James Prevratil. He was my mom’s uncle. I read through this post a couple of times, but could not tell when the trumpet was presented to James? Can you clarify? I believe James was born circa 1893. Thanks for this article.

By David Mikelson on September 30th, 2018 at 3:53 pm

sorry I don’t have any additional information to add – glad that you have a family connection

By admin on October 12th, 2018 at 10:23 am

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