Mrs. Lola Vincent called last week to tell us the story of her grandfather, who played the Tuba for Representative William McKinley.
In 1878 George McKee was 16 years old played in the Hinckley Township Band. As George remembers it, there were around fifteen bands in Medina County at the time. The Medina County Fair Board would hold a contest every year to determine who would have the honor of playing at the county fair. George recalls the contest that year being very close as the boys from the different bands had practiced all through the fall, summer, and spring. Close until George’s band struck a Rare Rendition of “Dixie.”
During the playing of Dixie a young man stepped forward from the band with his e-flat tuba. The young man took the lead in a rapid 4/4 time. The crowd could not believe what they were hearing, and seeing! At the end of the song the crowd was silent. The judges of the contest declared on the spot the Hinckley Band to be the winner and would play at the fair! The young man who gave the wonderful solo was George McKee! Congressman McKinley was one of the spectators who was in the crowd. Years later President McKinley visited Medina County, and asked to see that “Hinckley Tuba player.
Mrs. Vincent has donated the Tuba, the newspaper article accounting the story, and a photograph of the Hinckley Township Band. When I went out to her car to bring the tuba into the museum who stepped out of the car as Mrs. Vincent’s Chauffeur? It was another good friend of our museum, Mrs. Marilyn Stevens, whom I had interviewed last fall for the Frank Onesto program. Marilyn Stevens is Frank Onesto’s niece. Lola Vincent and Marilyn Stevens have known each other for thirty years!
Mark G. Holland, Archivist
McKinley Presidential Library & Museum