• Doug Cook

The Scout Band of Guthrie (1920 – 1922)

Guthrie’s scouting history had a time when a coed scout band engaged in events regularly in the early 1920’s.

Music playback was limited to phonographs which were beginning to appear in people’s homes.   Commercial broadcast radio would arrive in Oklahoma a few years later.  If you wanted music at an event, a live band was the way to go.  Composer and conductor John Philip Sousa (1854 – 1932) was in his prime.  Americans liked marching bands.


Walter J Nopper (26 April 1893 – 15 August 1941) was born in Germany and immigrated to America in 1914.

Walter was a graduate of Heidelberg University and studied under Fritz Kreisler, a violin master at the turn of the century.  Walter emigrates from Switzerland or Germany and arrives in New York in June 25, 1914.

Beginnings of the Scout Band

By 1920 Walter, now 27, arrives in Guthrie and uses his music talent recruiting youth from the talents of existing boy scout and girl scout troops.  Numerous newspaper references over a three year span from 1920 to 1922 show his dedication and service to the community of Guthrie and Scouting.

“58 piece boy and girl scout band” 23 March 1922 Oklahoma Weekly Reader


Niblack, Leslie G. Oklahoma Weekly Leader (Guthrie, Okla.), Vol. 31, No. 5, Ed. 1 Thursday, March 23, 1922, newspaper, March 23, 1922; (gateway.okhistory.org/ark:/67531/metadc120646/m1/4/?q=nopper%20guthrie%20band: accessed April 11, 2018), The Gateway to Oklahoma History, gateway.okhistory.org; crediting Oklahoma Historical Society.


In a future post, I’ll detail more on Troop 3 (later – Troop 63) chartered by the First United Methodist Church.   The First United Methodist Church was then known as the First M.E. Church (M.E. meaning Methodist Episcopal).


Niblack, Leslie G. The Guthrie Daily Leader. (Guthrie, Okla.), Vol. 54, No. 2, Ed. 1 Thursday, March 23, 1922, newspaper, March 23, 1922; Guthrie, Oklahoma. (gateway.okhistory.org/ark:/67531/metadc713372/m1/1/?q=pie%20supper: accessed April 11, 2018), The Gateway to Oklahoma History, gateway.okhistory.org; crediting Oklahoma Historical Society.


Oklahoma State Register noted in their “Local Mention” column in March of 1922…


Golobie, John. Oklahoma State Register (Guthrie, Okla.), Vol. 30, No. 41, Ed. 1 Thursday, March 23, 1922, newspaper, March 23, 1922; Guthrie, Oklahoma. (gateway.okhistory.org/ark:/67531/metadc88670/m1/5/?q=Nopper%27s%2058: accessed April 11, 2018), The Gateway to Oklahoma History, gateway.okhistory.org; crediting Oklahoma Historical Society.


The Oklahoma State Register noted in March 1921 of “Nopper’s Juvenile band” in a Sunday school parade…


Golobie, John. Oklahoma State Register (Guthrie, Okla.), Vol. 39, No. 48, Ed. 1 Thursday, March 31, 1921, newspaper, March 31, 1921; Guthrie, Oklahoma. (gateway.okhistory.org/ark:/67531/metadc88619/m1/5/?q=nopper: accessed April 11, 2018), The Gateway to Oklahoma History, gateway.okhistory.org; crediting Oklahoma Historical Society.


Scouting in the 21st Century and the Band

Scout bands can be seen at large scouting events like National Scout Jamborees involving venturers and scouts.




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