Des Moines
Za-Ga-Zig Temple Band, 1921

Author's collection

Sheet music, "The Iowa Corn Song" (1921), Back cover

About This Image

This grainy image of the Za-Ga-Zig temple band of Des Moines is taken from the back cover of the sheet music to "The Iowa Corn Song." In 1912, the band was on its way to a Shrine convention in Los Angeles when one of its Za-Ga-Zig brethren, George Hamilton, got the idea to add new words to the tune "Traveling" so that the Iowa shriners would have an appropriately enthusiastic marching song. The Za-Ga-Zig band's association with the song was further solidified when its director, John T. Beeston (seated in the center of the front row), composed additional lyrics and published arrangements of the song for piano and for concert band.

The Za-Ga-Zig band took pride in the fact that all of its 40-50 members were drawn from the chapter.


Journal References

Grand Lodge Iowa, Quarterly Bulletin, Vol. xvii, No. 3, July 1916

Shriners Convention: Many Shriners through the State are attending the Imperial Council at Buffalo, delegates going from every Shrine Temple in Iowa. The route over which the special trains carrying the Iowa Shriners will run is via Chicago, Detroit and Niagara.

The famous all Shrine band of forty-five pieces of Za-Ga-Zig Temple, Des Moines, will accompany the delegation from that city.

One of the spectacular features of the convention will be a parade of three thousand uniformed musicians of seventy-eight different bands, all playing one air. [85]


Jacobs' Band Monthly, February 1919

TRAVEL NOTES: ...One interesting feature of Des Moines musical life is the vast interest exhibited in the organizing of brass bands, this ambition and persistence being exemplified in some of the best bands in the state. The "Zagazig Shrine" has selected Mr. John T. Beeston to conduct its uniformed band of forty members. The Typographical Union has organized a band of thirty members...[65]