History of the Galveston Beach Band
One hundred and fifteen years ago on Galveston Island a tradition of summer bands began; then sever or more bands played rousing marches and romantic symphonic music.
This is the story of one very special band formed in 1928.

The Galveston Municipal Band, sponsored by the city of Galveston and directed by Felix Stella began playing every Sunday, Wednesday and Friday evenings at the park on the corner of Seawall and 27th Street until the early 1980’s when they moved downtown to the Mary Moody Northern Plaza and the Sealy family donated a gazebo in 1988.
Frank Incapara, Sr. played a trumpet in this band and his son, 4-year-old Frank G., joyfully took the job of carrying his father’s instrument. Frank Sr. insisted the youngster learn to read notes and sing the melody to the songs. Not until he mastered that was he given an E-flat alto horn and began to make music – 2 years later he received his first trumpet. Great training from a master.

Concerts played, romantic waltzes, popular fox trots of the day, local singers and dancers, old fashioned sing-a-longs led by drummer Bob Beckway and featured patriotic waltz’s – many of them composed and directed by the young trumpet player. Frank Sr. played a trumpet during his school years and continued in a military band when he joined the service of his country. Immigrating to Texas he formed his own band. Son Frank G., like his father, played through school, had his own band and became well known for hosting Teen Hideaway on channel 11. Frank G. led a band when he served in the US Army.
When Frank G. became band director 46 years ago the legendary Christie Mitchell offered to help him and invited Frank and 4 members down to the beachfront for pictures. He told them each, “I will make you a star! Now get in the water and play.” And they did. Frank remarked “I guess we’ll be known as “The Galveston Beach Band”. And indeed they are. This marked the beginning of increasing attendance. Most of the current band members have played with this band for 20 to 30 years. Some even more than 30 years – I feel like a newcomer with just 21 years.

For the next 46 years the Summer Beach Band played for an ever-growing devoted and loyal audience. Guest conductors, musicians and short stories about Galveston history provide extra entertainment. Ronald MacDonald visits and Karate demonstrations entertain the children and does anyone remember the time performing snakes escaped their charmer and scattered the audience? A favorite for adults is the big band sound and vocals delightfully provided by Frank and his wife Hazel who played the base drum. Frank has played the “Mickey Mouse March” for the kids Flag parade since 1962, and spectators still stand with their hand over their heart as the flag passes by. Patriotic music is always present and when marches composed by Frank Sr. are played his son hands over the baton to his Father to conduct. In August, 1991 just days before his 99th birthday Frank, Sr. conducted his favorite composition “Oleander March”. It was his last performance. On two memorable evenings beautiful rainbows appeared and the band broke into the lovely strains of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”... a melody they all knew by heart.

Tuesday night summer concerts are something most other cities today can only watch from afar and envy. The brass band concert in the park is a wonderful Norman Rockwellian style Institution. And judging from the number of young families who bring lawn chairs and blankets and make an evening of it the band will play on well into tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow here on our beautiful, romantic, historic Island.
The History Ladies
Lynette Haaga - I was originally from Minnesota and came to Texas in 1980, and from the first visit to Galveston way back then, I knew that this is where I wanted to live. My husband Bill and I moved to Galveston (from Pearland) on Valentine's Day 2005 to our 1895 Victorian cottage in the East End. We both got bitten by the history bug right away when we took a class at Rosenberg Library from Casey Greene and Jane Chapin about how to research your historical home. My love for Galveston history continued to grow during my time working for Galveston Island Tours as an event planner and tour guide, a great chance to share our island with so many visitors! I'm currently serving my second year as President of Galveston's East End Historical District Association, and also am an officer in the Laffite Society. I ring in the handbell choirs at Moody Methodist Church and volunteer as a docent every year at GHF's Homes Tour. I have a B.S degree in Food and Nutrition from the Univ. of Houston, and I've had my own wedding cake business as well as enjoyed teaching piano. I also play bassoon and clarinet, and played bassoon in the Pearland Community Band when I lived there. Besides history and writing, I love cats, mystery novels, music, the beach, classic cars, and cooking.
Gini Brown was born and raised on the coast of Long Island Sound, has lived more than half her life by the water - the last 24 years on Offatts Bayou in Galveston. The founder of a full-service advertising agency established in 1962, she has written and produced radio and television scripts, as well as documentaries, and has hosted radio shows and appeared in local theatrical prions. A free-lance writer, Ms Brown was most recently published in Soundings. As a member of the Galveston Historical Foundation, she served on the Elissa Committee and this involvement sparked her interest in Galveston History. In 2000, the anniversary year of the 1900 storm, Gini and Max Rizley published book, 'Galveston: Lore, Legend and Downright Lies' - a collection of the "little" stories of people and events. This year (2010) will mark the 21st year that Gini will share her tales of this beautiful, romantic, historic island.