Walt Disney's Disneyland Band Concert

Walt Disney’s Disneyland Band Concert – A Musical Look Back in Time

Walt Disney’s Disneyland Band Concert is vinyl that was originally released in 1956. This recording has a variety of music from the Disneyland Band that was led by Vesey Walker at the time. This record is a look back in time for the history of Disneyland from a musical perspective. Along with having some great music, it also has some interesting bits to read. Below is a look at this piece of history from 1956 and what it shared about the Disneyland Band, and Disneyland, at the time.

“Disneyland Band Concert”

High on everyone’s list of heart-stirring sights and emotions must be the brilliant spectacle of the Marching Band – brass agleam in the sun, uniforms trim and brilliant, music booming as only the music from a Marching Band can do.

Once a daily sight on America’s Main Street, the Marching Band has been another casualty of the march of progress. Bud Disneyland’s Main Street, true to the traditions of another-day America, complements the charm of its period architecture with the mobile charm of the Disneyland Band.

Under the leadership of expert bandmaster Vesey Walker, the Disneyland group is a full dress aggregation that counts a repertoire ranging from “The William Tell Overture” to the “Mickey Mouse Club March” and includes a full selection of circus and band concert music.

From the band’s first appearnace of each day on Main Street, at 11 a.m., the band is always in evidence somewhere within the Park. This is the group that makes the march each day to the Main Street Town Square and then through Frontierland and Adventureland, where they give impromptu concerts. In the afternoon, the band is broken up into three units: The Dixieland “Hatters” tootle in Froniterland, the Saxophone Quartet makes its appearance on Main Street in Keystone Kop uniforms, and the Town Band adds its musical talents to Fantasyland or Tomorrowland. Later in the afternoon, the band is once again together as a group for a mid-afternoon concert in front of the Main Street Opera House.

The day closes for them at retreat, held each afternoon at 5. The band forms a circle around the Town Square Flagpole and plays request numbers – which invariably include the “Mickey Mouse March” and “Davy Crockett.” Retreat closes with the playing of the National Anthem as Security Guards lower the United States Flag. Last number of the day is the traditional “Til We Meet Again,” urging the assembled guests to visit the Magic Kingdom again soon.

Vesey Walker, whose job it is to direct this band with its cimplicated arrangements and to lead the group on its twice-a-day marches up Main Street, is a cheerful and genial veteran of the business who came to Disneyland as one of the nation’s most experienced – and most honored – bandmasters.

Walker finds himself continuing in a lifelong profession which began in World War I when he first took up the baton at an Army Bandmaster School, later becoming the Assistant Bandmaster for the 41st Infantry. He came to California from Milwaukee (then one of the country’s renowned cities of concert band music) during the ’30’s to take over the direction of the Los Angeles Elks Lodge 99 band, the famous “Toppers.” As leader of the “Toppers,” Walker participated with the band in every “Tournament of Roses Parade” from 1936 to 1955.

The versatile and highly mobile band which he directs at Disneyland is made up of top-class professionals, many of whom came here after notable accomplishments in other areas of the music world.

DISNEYLAND BAND PERSONNEL – Clarinets: Jack Williams, George Landier, Bernie Flymen • Saxophones: Don Baker, Eddie Stelnicki • Cornets: Herman Terando, Warren Gale, Eddie Shiner, Ted Tracy • Trombones: Jim Barngrover, jr., Ozzie Stock, Eddie Thomas • Horn: Ed Liston • Baritone Horn: Cass Arpke • Tobuas: Jim Sexton, Donald M. Heaston • Drums: Morris Casselman, George Richter

WDL-3002 – Side I

BAND 1. DISNEY MEDLEY: Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah – Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee – Whistle While You Work – Heigh Ho
BAND 2. Clarinet Polka
BAND 3. GAY NINETIES MEDLEY: The Band Played On – In The Good Old Summertime – While Strolling Through the Park One Day
BAND 4. Tee Dum Tee Dee – Pink Elephants On Parade
BAND 5 Siren Of The Nile
BAND 6. The Everglades March
BAND 7. Dusty Trombone
BAND 8. Jing-A-Ling, Jing-A-Ling

WDL-3002 – Side II

BAND 1. Bonnie Blue Gal March
BAND 2. Comin’ Through The Rye
BAND 3. RIVER BOAT MEDLEY: Waitin’ for the “Robert E. Lee” – Cruisin’ Down the River – Here Comes the Showboat
BAND 4. In The Shade Of The Old Apple Tree
BAND 5. Whoop-Ta-Doodle-Day
BAND 6. The Ballad Of Davy Crockett
BAND 7. OLD TIME BALLADS MEDLEY: Moonlight Bay – Wait Till The Sun Shines, Nellie – Put on Your Old Grey Bonnet
BAND 8. Main Street March

This Disneyland Band Concert album was recorded outside, during a normal day at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, in the belief that an “on-the-scene” recording would have more authenticity and flavor than a studio version. We hope that you enjoy it!

There are a few interesting things to note in the notes for Walt Disney’s Disneyland Band Concert. First off, it is interesting to read about the schedule of the Disneyland back in the mid fifties. The day started for the band at 11:00 AM and its last performance was at 5:00 PM, which appears to also include what is now the Patriotic Flag Retreat. It is also interesting to note that the band took requests back in the day. It would be an amazing thing to see the band perform in this manner, and is hard to imagine in this day that is so structured.

Reading about the Vesey Walker is also quite interesting. It is fairly known that he was hired as a prestigious band director. Reading about his career before Disney in a bit more details really is fascinating. His legacy continues on today that was built in those early years with the foundation of excellent musicianship of the Disneyland Band he led, along with the breakout groups as well. Iterations of these can still be seen and experienced at Disneyland today!

Finally (there is a lot more we could dissect really but this is a blog post not a book), it is interesting to see the music that was performed back in the day. There are a couple of songs/medleys that were continued to be performed for decades. There are also some that many modern audiences have never heard before (or heard of). Listening to this record really is a unique way to go back in time and experience Disneyland that once was. It also is fun to listen to the origins of what the Disneyland Band is today.

This album unfortunately is not on streaming services. It really is a fun one to listen to, however, if you can find it! I am grateful to have it in my collection and be able to experience this bit of Disney magic from a very different time. Have you heard this album before? If so, what did you think of it? If not, what do you think of the notes from this album and what it shares about Disneyland in 1956? Would you like us to do more glimpses at Disney history from the perspective of vinyl records that were released in the past? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!