Sunday, September 7, 2003

He's 98, and still a great band-mate

By Marie McCain
The Cincinnati Enquirer

MILFORD - At 98, his marching days are long gone and the trumpet he once played now has a blocked valve. Nevertheless, Allan Shumard is a Buckeye to the core - and proud to still belong to "The Best Damn Band in The Land."

A 1928 Ohio State University graduate, Shumard is the oldest living member of the OSU Marching Band. He's part of the alumni organization and pays his membership dues regularly.

Today, he'll head to the Queen City Club, where he'll meet with bandleaders and watch as the band performs a 10:15 a.m. concert before it marches to Paul Brown Stadium for the Bengals' season opener against the Denver Broncos.

The band will perform during pregame and halftime festivities.

"I love that Ohio State Marching Band, and I have a great love of football," he said Friday in the living room of his Milford home.

He looks forward to seeing the band perform its trademark "Script Ohio" formation.

"In my day we just did block Os. That 'Script Ohio' is far superior to anything we ever did," he said.

After graduating with a degree in engineering, Shumard made ends meet during the Depression by playing in a jazz band. But he eventually became an entrepreneur and for years owned a hardware and kitchen appliance store in Milford.

His musical tastes run to the classics, such as legendary trumpeter Louis Armstrongand cornetist Leon "Bix" Beiderbecke, and bandleaders Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey.

"I like country. Hate rock. Modern jazz is beyond me," he added.

In the 1950s, Shumard started another jazz band that lasted about 10 years.

Music is in his genes. A third-generation trumpet player, he keeps a sepia-toned photograph of his father's band in his living room.

"My grandfather, my father, all of us were in bands. I can trace it back to the Civil War," he said, adding that even though it became secondary in his life, he always returned to his music.

"It allows you to tell a story," he said. "It's uplifting."


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