Pat Shingleton: "Solar Armour and... our Marching Band..."
Bogus stories lace the colorful history of Death Valley, CA. Here's a good one. In 1874, the editor of the Virginia Territorial Enterprise needed some space to fill. He concocted a story about a scientist who invented a suit called, "solar armor." The scientist covered himself with a sponge-like material, saturated himself with water and set across the desert. According to the newspaper article, they discovered the inventor perched on a rock, frozen solid. The rapid evaporation of water had supposedly turned the sponge into ice. The scientist's beard was covered with frost and a foot-long icicle hung from the end of his nose. Back then, the story had the trappings of scientific fact. In closing, Dave Brooks was our band director at Riverside High School. Under his tutelage we became one of the best marching bands in western Pennsylvania. Memorial Day began the summer band marching season. Competitions with other high school bands and drum and bugle corps continued through September. Included in our summer schedules were baseball practices and games. Even when the baseball game was “rained-out,” that wasn’t the case with our rain or shine band competitions. The drum-line consisted of Del Wiley, Jim Zeigler, Jimmy Wilds, Tom Minett and others. With a snare drum strapped to your leg sometimes it was everything we could do to “side-step” what the horses ahead of us left on the parade route.
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