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Los Angeles' first Harmonica Week

Los Angeles’ first Harmonica Week

June 27, 1935: Los Angeles Mayor Frank Shaw appears with Manuel Martinez, 13, left, and Herman Bower, 11, to promote Harmonica Week.

This photograph accompanied an article in the June 28, 1935, edition of the Los Angeles Times:

Those familiar faces about the City Hall paused outside Mayor Shaw’s official chambers yesterday. There was music in the air.

“No, it can’t be the mayor, he has a sore lip today,” said one of a curious throng.

But the mayor made it clear that he can play the harmonica as he officiated at ceremonies in his office opening the first annual Los Angeles Harmonica Week registration.

Contests will begin next Wednesday and continue until July 10, inclusive, with Mayor Shaw as sponsor in conjunction with music stores of the city that will give free lessons to purchasers of “mouth organs.”

First to register for the preliminary contests at city playgrounds … were Herman Bower, 11 years of age, and Manuel Martinez, 13, who played selections for the mayor.

Kenneth Milton, who organized and conducted the 70-piece Philadelphia Sesquicentennial Harmonica Band, presented Mayor Shaw with a chromatic harmonica that he played before Queen Marie of Romania during her visit to America.

Milton’s services as instructor for the free lessons have been assured by more than 20 music stores that brought him here from Philadelphia.

 

June 27, 1935: Promoting Harmonica Week in Los Angeles are, from left, L.A. Mayor Frank Shaw, harmonica teacher Kenneth Milton and players Manuel Martinez and Herman Bower. Credit: Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive / UCLA

scott.harrison@latimes.com

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