Detailed History:

In the early days of the Shrine it was readily apparent that music would play a prominent part in its growth. In 1902, when Syria Temple was comparatively a baby, Potentate William H. Walker appointed William Wright, George Goser and Frank McComb members of Syria Arab Patrol(now known as, The Patrol), who were authorized to organize a brass band. Upon issuance of the first call for volunteers, Robert Bromley, George Dickson, Charles Westerfield, and Henry F. Gilg responded. These four, after some rehearsing, performed as a burlesque band at the fall ceremony of that year. Shortly after, Charles W. Easton, a prominent orchestra leader, came in as a member of Syria Temple and was induced to become interested in the band. Through his efforts several professional musicians were enrolled in the then small membership. This was the first Syria Temple Brass Band to attend an Imperial Session, which was held at Niagara Falls, New York in 1905. The band consisted of one flute, two clarinets, one saxophone, four cornets, two French horns, two trombones, one baritone, two basses, three drums and one drum major on the pilgrimage to St. Paul, Minnesota in the year 1907. Since Syria Band was made up of Shrine members exclusively, this was the only band permitted entrance to, the Imperial Council Session, thus being designated as the first Shrine Band in North America. Noble Easton retired in 1916, and Noble Arbogast became director of Syria Band. During his tenure as director the band made many appearances, including a concert at the dedication of the Mosque in 1916. Noble Arbogast retired in 1922. Noble George Matz, a baritone soloist a nd member since 1906,was elected director of the Band. Under the direction of Noble Matz Syria Band played many concerts and made numerous trips to Imperial Council Sessions. The Band was soon known from coast to coast as being one of the finest bands in Shrinedom. Noble Lewellyn of the Band was appointed to the Line, and Noble Lewellyn became Potentate in 1940. After having served Syria Temple well for forty-two years, Noble Matz retired in 1947 because of ill health. Potentate Clarence Head appointed Noble Fred Smith as director at the business meeting of January 1948. He was director of Syria Band for nineteen years. The Black Camel called him to his reward on November 23, 1967 .

For ten consecutive years this Band was proclaimed the official Band of the Imperial Session by Noble George Stringfellow of Crescent Temple, Trenton, New Jersey. This honor for the Band required us to play at the installation of the incoming Imperial Sir held at high noon on Wednesday. Noble Stringfellow later became Imperial Potentate. Noble John Stephens, who was assistant director under Smitty, was named director of Syria Band. He remained director until the year 1982, at which time he became Potentate of Syria Temple.

Shriners Band, circa 1971

At our annual meeting and election of officers Noble Robert Timmons, a member of our trumpet section, was nominated and elected director of Syria Band. During his tenure as director he kept Syria Band the best in all of Shrinedom. The Band played at many concerts and parades, and also entered band competitions. As usual, Syria Band always was a winner. Noble Timmons served the Band as director for ten years.         Noble Harry Boles served as assistant director under Noble Stephens and Noble Timmons. Noble Harry Boles formed a Swing band comprised of Nobles of Syria’s Great Band. At the Imperial Session in Denver in 1972, these Nobles made a name for themselves and Syria Temple. They became one of the greatest swing bands in all of Shrinedom. Noble Boles was known to be a fine saxophonist.

In January 1993 Noble Dean Streator was nominated and elected director of Syria Band, a position he held until 2013 Under his excellent musician-directorship, the Band has improved dramatically in its tonal quality and respective musicianship.

Noble Jason Dilliot was elected Director in 2013. Noble Dilliot was the Assistant Director under Noble Streator. At the age of 41, the Black Camel called him to his reward in August 2014. He was a beloved Music Teacher for Northgate High school. Illustrious Sir Robert Addleman Jr, then Potentate and a member of the trumpet section led the Band to a first place trophy at MASA in September 2014.

In 2014 Noble Howard Swango reformed the Stage Band. The Stage Band performs regular for a public dance at the Shriners Center. As well playing at local venures it is made up of mostly Shriners and local talented individuals. In 2016 the Band added a Female lead vocalist.

Noble Jack R Anderson was nominated and elected to Director in 2014. Long time member of the band and recently retired Director of Bands of the University of Pittsburgh. Noble Anderson will continue in a long line of great Directors of the band. We are lucky and honored to have Noble Anderson and are looking forward to the years ahead.

Howard Swango retired from music in late of 2018. Ken Yarnot and Bob Hill took over the Stage Band as Co Directors.  In earlier of 2019 the Shriners Bands and Chanters hosted a Very successful High School Jazz Band event at the Shriners Center.  The Shriners Stage Band closed the performance.