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Good news emerged during the depths of depression

Historic photo shows the national champion Carbon High School Marching Band of 1933.

Sun Advocate publisher

(Editors note: This article is one of several that is being run through the end of 2011 depicting events that appeared in the pages of the Sun Advocates over the years since it was founded in 1891.)

If there was ever a time that Carbon County needed a boost it was in the depths of the depression. While the financial news was bad and people struggled just to keep their homes, jobs and livelihood, at times some things happened that raised spirits and pride in the local community.

In June of 1933, while many men in the area were headed off to Civil Conservation Camps to have some work, high school students from Carbon High took a different trip. They headed to the National High School Band Championships in Evanston, Ill.

After placing first in the state, the band was full of vim and vigor and went to the competition with high hopes. In the 1930s and 40s band competitions between high schools was at its height, with these competitions rivaling athletics in the minds of many people around the country.

On June 10, 1933, the Carbon High Marching Band won the national marching band championship. There was no national broadcast, even though by that time radio had become quite sophisticated. The news of the band's triumph came through a telegram that arrived only a few minutes after the winning announcement was made in Illinois.

While telephones existed in the county, the lines were not yet everywhere and details of the win were sketchy. Upon the arrival of the telegram the Sun Advocate issued a special two page edition containing the full details of the win and over 2,000 of them were distributed in county.

The next week the June 15 issue of the paper had more detail about the win, and an editorial lauding the young people involved for their efforts.

"Seldom it is that a community is accorded the national recognition that has been won for this district by excellence excellence of the work of the Carbon County High School Band," exclaimed the opinion piece that was placed just below the flag of the newspaper that day. "Placing first in the marching division at the national band contest and ranking near the top in the concert competition (they took second in that competition), the local band capped the climax fittingly to a season that has been unusually outstanding..."

The win and the consequent return of the band by train from the Midwest was covered by the paper and brought a sense of real pride to a community that was battered by the economy. A huge crowd showed up at the trains station in Price when they arrived and the celebration of the championship went on for days. That celebration included basically keys to the city for band members and a huge concert as other bands from other schools throughout Utah came to participate in a special concert. Thousands of out of town visitors came to Price for the big party and many residents opened their doors to house some of those people.

It was a bright spot in an otherwise dark time, one that would get darker before things got better.

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