“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Eau Claire in Eau Claire County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

Donald I. "Sarge" Boyd

Donald I. "Sarge" Boyd Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William J. Toman, June 12, 2011
1. Donald I. "Sarge" Boyd Marker
Inscription.  Donald I. Boyd arrived in Eau Claire in 1929 as the new high school band conductor. Almost immediately there was an improvement in the quality of the high school band. Although it was the middle of The Great Depression, the band's popularity enabled them to raise enough money to provide band uniforms, and their numbers increased from 30 to 75 members.

"Sarge", as he was known to his students, set a high standard for gaining entry to the band and demanded a consistent quality from his players. As a strong advocate of precise marching style, his bands were noted for their high steps, quickened pace, and straight lines, as well as their superb tone and sound quality.

Two major concerts were performed annually at the school and they were marked by familiar marches, overtures, and holiday music. Each concert concluded with Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever." Who could forget his line of seven or eight percussionists with white gloves rhythmically raising their drumsticks when playing that favorite march?

"Sarge's" enthusiasm for music soon overflowed into the community, and his first concert in the park was June 2,
Donald I. "Sarge" Boyd Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William J. Toman, June 12, 2011
2. Donald I. "Sarge" Boyd Marker
The Donald I. "Sarge" Boyd Band Shell is in the background.
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1932. He organized a municipal band which played at patriotic events, the local hospital rotunda, and weekly summer concerts.

The Owen Park Band Shell was planned due to the popularity of the 1930's band concerts. The band shell was submitted and paid for as a WPA project during The Great Depression. The debut concert was directed by "Sarge" on June 16, 1938.

We lived in precarious times during World War II and the Korean Conflict and "Sarge" made hearts swell with pride when he marched his bands in many patriotic parades. They played vigorously with deep spirit for those called to be soldiers and sailors; some of whom never returned home.

During his 34 years as Eau Claire Senior High band director and 46 years as municipal band director, Donald I. "Sarge" Boyd somehow found the way to inspire, thrill, and rouse his listeners. His legacy of excellence and pride in band music was recognized in 1992 with the naming of the Donald I. "Sarge" Boyd Band Shell in Owen Park.

Author: Willard Brill, Class of 1944
Erected 2010 by the Historic Preservation Foundation of Eau Claire and Friends of Donald I. "Sarge" Boyd.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Arts, Letters, Music. In addition, it is included in the Works Progress Administration (WPA) projects
Donald I. "Sarge" Boyd Band Shell image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Keith L, June 10, 2011
3. Donald I. "Sarge" Boyd Band Shell
series list. A significant historical month for this entry is June 1855.
Location. 44° 48.307′ N, 91° 30.019′ W. Marker is in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, in Eau Claire County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of First Avenue and Broadway Street, on the right when traveling south. The marker is near the band shell in Owen Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Eau Claire WI 54701, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Immigrants (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Owen's Gift to the City (about 700 feet away); Emma and Benjamin Stephanson House (approx. 0.2 miles away); J. D. R. Steven House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Roy Wilcox House (approx. 0.2 miles away); John S. Owen House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Orlando Brice House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Temple of Free Masonry (approx. Ό mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Eau Claire.
More about this marker. The marker includes two photos of Donald I. "Sarge" Boyd, one circa 1950 (upper left) and the other circa 1957 (upper right), as well as a photo of one of his bands circa 1951.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on June 19, 2011, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 639 times since then and 29 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on June 19, 2011, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin.   3. submitted on June 29, 2011, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.

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Jul. 7, 2022