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COAST ARTILLERY MARCH incorporates two songs written for the Coast Artillery: Coast Artillery Song to the Air: The Son of a Gambolier, and Crash on Artillery!  The Port Townsend Summer Band was playing on the evening of July 4, 2005, on the porch of the Museum’s quarters.  Hearing the band play some marches by this composer, Alfred Chiswell, the curator of the Coast Artillery Museum at Fort Worden, asked him to write a march for the Coast Artillery.  It happened three years later.  The march is slated to be premiered June 29, 2008 by the Port Townsend Summer Band at its first summer concert of the year.


PORT TOWNSEND CENTENNIAL MARCH’s original score cover includes the following notice from the composer: Respectfully dedicated to the City of Port Townsend in memory of my grandfather, Josephus Marion Asher, onetime Customs Officer (circa 1856), on the occasion of the Celebration of the One Hundredth Anniversary of the founding of Port Townsend. [ signed] Sgt. 1cl Eugene D. Vacher, 360th Army Band, Fort Worden, Washington, 19 May 1951. Accompanying the score in the archives of the Jefferson County Historical Research Center is a typed piece of paper: Original Score of “Port Townsend Centennial March” presented to Pioneer Queen Minna by composer, Sgt. 1/cl Eugene D. Vacher, May 19, 1951, with understanding Queen Minna was to turn it over to Jefferson County Historical Museum for its files. Thanks, Sgt. Vacher!
Mr. Vacher conducted and arranged music up to the time of his death at age 100.  He died on September 16, 2010, in El Cajon, California.


On October 10, 2007, Lesa Barnes, piccolo and flute instrumentalist in the Port Townsend Summer Band and Port Townsend Community Orchestra, sent me an e-mail.  She was at the Jefferson County Historical Society’s Research Center the previous day and came across the original, hand-written score of the Port Townsend Centennial March, and suggested that I might be interested in looking at it.  Shortly thereafter I visited the center where she and her husband volunteer regularly.  I asked for a copy of the score with the idea of preparing an edition for the Port Townsend Summer Band to play.  After I had filled in the flute, alto and tenor saxophone parts which had been absent in the score and had made some other changes, I thought that I should do some investigating.  On the Internet on November 27th I discovered one reference to Mr. Vacher in the history of the U.S. Army’s Second Division during their time in Korea in 1951 and 1952.  Mr. Vacher was one of two warrant officers heading the division’s band.  Further inquiries led me to his address and telephone number in California.  We made contact by telephone and later by an exchange of letters.  He gave me permission to make some changes to his march.  I asked him if I might ask him a personal question, to which he acceded; what was his age?  He told me 98 years old.  At the time he had completed 25 years conducting the San Diego City Guard Band, and was arranging music for and conducting a mandolin orchestra in El Cajon.  He told me he had written this march in somewhat of a hurry.  The Army Band at Fort Worden played this march during the City’s Centennial celebration in May, 1951.


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