The Glenwood Manual Training School Band: 1892-1929

Document Type


Publication Title

Journal of Band Research

Publication Date



This study documents the history of the band at the Glenwood Manual Training School in Glenwood, Illinois, from its origin through the tenure of the ensemble's first long term conductor—Thad H. Davidson. The Illinois Industrial Training School for Boys—later known as the Glenwood Manual Training School and today as the Glenwood School for Boys and Giris—opened in 1887 to provide a home and education for neglected and abandoned boys living on the streets of Chicago. School officials organized the Glenwood Band in the eariy 1890s to support the military program and provide vocational training. The group made little progress, however, until Thad H. Davidson became director of the band in 1905. Under his leadership, the Glenwood Band became very popular, performing in numerous concerts, parades, and other events throughout the Chicago area. Davidson continued to conduct the ensemble until his death in 1929 at the age of 77. His predecessors included Leland M. Gobal, Mr. Saeter, and Haskell Harr—the famous percussion teacher who also worked at the Vandercook College of Music in Chicago. Today, the Glenwood School for Boys and Giris continues to offer instrumental music as a regular part of the curriculum, maintaining the tradition that began over 118 years ago.


This article was originally published in Journal of Band Research 47, no. 2 (2012): 64-81,