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Bo Garland Strikes up the Band

SBo GarlandeacoastNH.com Presents
Historic Portsmouth #331  

Beverly Stewart of Exeter not only wrote a fan letter to this weekly “Historic Portsmouth” column, but also mailed this fantastic photo. The package included a few pages from the Harry “Bo” Garland band scrapbook. Garland’s popular band played regularly in Portsmouth in the early 1920s. (Photos and article below)

 

 

Newspaper clippings show them performing as the “Pepper Boys” at the high school junior prom, at the Farragut House, at York Beach, and as far away as Norwich University in Vermont. They were regulars at Pierce Hall where the dance band played downstairs, afternoons and evenings, while the movies played upstairs. It was “the event all Portsmouth has been waiting for” according to newspaper ads. Bo also took an acting role in the local Demolay performance of a play entitled “Bimbo” at the Music Hall in 1924. With violinist Leo Sulkins (not shown) the group caught a break on the vaudeville stage of the Columbia Theatre in Boston. Billed as Garland and Sulkins and their Syncopating Clowns, the group dressed like circus clowns. The performance earned them a contract in a Boston hall, but with some members heading off to college, they were unable to accept the offer.  Drummer “Bo” also discovered that he had performed in the Boston show with his arm broken in two places, and he was required to recuperate for months with his arm in a cast. The owner of this photo has kindly agreed to donate it to the Portsmouth Athenaeum. Band members shown are, left to right: (back row) Jake Regan, Phil Rugg, Harry de Rochemont, Jr., (front row) Harry “Bo” Garland, Walter Toner, and Bill Hurley. (Courtesy of Beverly Stewart)

Bo Garland's Band

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