Katonah’s Music Man

Finding work in his home town after his Naval service was no easy matter. Once again Destiny stepped in when Walt was showing off Katonah to his war bride.  On the village sidewalk they ran into Walt’s former PE coach, who had become the principal of the High School, Mr. Edwin Haseltine.  Right then and there Hazzy offered Walt the job of Music Teacher, since the previous fellow had suffered a nervous breakdown.

Walter loved the job of directing the concert band and orchestra. “I wrote  a lot of music in those early years: marches and instrumental trios, because I had kids to try them out.  I was quick to learn what high school students could or could not do.” There was more incentive to compose since he knew he had a captive group to  perform.

After producing an original portfolio of music for band instruments he enlisted the aid of his former college buddy, Arnold Broido, who worked for the famous British publishers in NY City, Boosey and Hawkes.  This outfit offered him $250 outright, or a choice of cash paid on a royalty basis.  “Thank heavens I took my chances on the royalties, because 40 years later, as a member of the prestigious organization, ASCAP, I’m still getting them from the US and abroad.”

Some of his best sellers were the marches, “Storm King” and “Thunder Song.” Both college and professional bands have performed his music on vinyl . He got a big kick out of hearing one march played at a Tournament of Roses Parade; his daughter heard one of his marches played by the wandering Disneyland Band in Hometown Square.

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