Saturday, January 13, 2007

Two Disneyland Bands

How many times did Vesey Walker (leader of the Disneyland Band) make the trek up Main Street U.S.A.? He was no spring chicken, but I somehow get the feeling that there was nowhere else he'd rather be. According to a 1957 guide book, the Disneyland Band performed 1,460 concerts annually. The following is a quote from Vesey's Disneyland engagement started as a two-week run for the Park's opening in 1955, but he was "held over" by popular demand for 15 years. Reminiscing about his achievements, Vesey considered coming to Disneyland the high point in his career.

This love of his band helped Vesey defeat an attack of a rare spinal virus that nearly took his life and left him paralyzed for months. Doctors told him he would never walk again, but he would not accept it. "I wouldn't give up," he recalled. "I had to get back to my band." Gradually, after months of painful effort, he regained control of everything except his legs. The great bandsman spurned crutches "because I was afraid I would begin to rely on them too much."

Just a year after he was stricken (and reluctantly using a cane), Vesey proudly led his band down Main Street, U.S.A., once again. A few weeks later he threw away the cane.

Next is a photo of the "Tyrolean Band" playing at the base of the Matterhorn (the slide was mysteriously labeled "Dutch Band at Disneland"). I can almost hear the oompah-pah music right now. If only they had a yodeler!


Tinker Bell said...

What a great story! Thanks so much for sharing that. :D Bits of personal Disneyland history are so wonderful!

Matterhorn1959 said...

Nice images for the Disneyland band!

Anonymous said...

Yes. One of my favorite memories of Disneyland (1950's and 60's) was the music they played while we waited in line for the Matterhorn. Not to mention as the line wound up front, the excitement of seeing the bobsleds taking off, and splashing through the water there. The beautiful flowers and evergreens. Anticipation was part of the whole Disneyland experience.