Browse Items (14 total)

Industrial High School Postcard Front.jpeg
Postcard for Birmingham, Alabama's Industrial High School, postmarked 1941. Under the direction of John T. "Fess" Whatley, Industrial (later renamed Parker) High School's instrumental music program produced numerous professional musicians who would…

Birmingham_Post_Herald_Thu__Mar_8__1956_.jpg
Newspaper article on the retirement of John T. "Fess" Whatley,Birmingham Post Herald, March 8, 1956.

Fess Whatley's Saxo-Society 2.jpeg
Advertisement for Fess Whately's Saxo-Society Orchestra of Industrial High School, circa 1930: "A Neat Appearing Group of Men that Will Grace Any Function."

Whatley School 1.jpeg
Lyrics and music for the official school song of John T. Whatley Elementary School, Birmingham, Alabama. Opened c. 1960, Whatley Elementary was named for John T. "Fess" Whatley, Birmingham's celebrated "Maker of Musicians," longtime local bandleader…

https://s3.amazonaws.com/omeka-net/69313/archive/files/2629f7ef3a1d619978d6b16134b4223d.pdf
In this excerpt, Adams reflects on his early training in music, including his first informal lessons from his older brother Oscar and his experience in the elementary and high school bands of William Wise Handy and John T. “Fess” Whatley.…

https://s3.amazonaws.com/omeka-net/69313/archive/files/53b39a6c00689c9a8cf7da262073bf2c.mp3
Frank Adams describes the musical culture of Birmingham’s segregated Black schools. In the opening portion of this excerpt, Adams reads from a lecture he was preparing for the University of Alabama at Birmingham, exploring the history of jazz and…

https://s3.amazonaws.com/omeka-net/69313/archive/files/e080a30dcc3350e475dca2189cdfe84e.mp3
As a high school student in the 1940s, Frank Adams played in both the bands of Fess Whatley, Birmingham's celebrated "Maker of Musicians," and Herman "Sonny" Blount, later famous as Sun Ra. In this interview excerpt, Adams compares the experience of…

https://s3.amazonaws.com/omeka-net/69313/archive/files/85815582339b91080b822c7bd7dcd030.mp3
In the first of more than 100 interviews with Burgin Mathews, Frank Adams shares some of his earliest memories. Topics include the influence of his father, Oscar W. Adams, Sr., and of his maternal grandmother, Ella Eaton; his first public…

https://s3.amazonaws.com/omeka-net/69313/archive/files/6986159c36d8f09312a366151bbbe824.mp3
Frank Adams recalls early gigs performing in elementary and high school with the guitarist Banjo Bill Reese. Adams was introduced to Banjo Bill by a high school student and singer named Sammy Mayo, who also performed with the older musician. In these…

https://s3.amazonaws.com/omeka-net/69313/archive/files/e623c6b5c57218aebf639e599bca41e5.jpeg
John T. “Fess” Whatley (1885 – 1972), Birmingham’s legendary “Maker of Musicians,” 1968. From 1917 into the 1950s, Whatley’s music program at Industrial / Parker High School produced numerous professional musicians, many of whom performed in the…

https://s3.amazonaws.com/omeka-net/69313/archive/files/00cfe66ea146506423bc9d9a1cfb77f3.jpeg
John T. “Fess” Whatley (1885 – 1972), Birmingham’s legendary “Maker of Musicians,” 1968. From 1917 into the 1950s, Whatley’s music program at Industrial / Parker High School produced numerous professional musicians, many of whom performed in the…

https://s3.amazonaws.com/omeka-net/69313/archive/files/7029887329c02621593525eadec2ffd2.jpeg
Industrial High School Printing Department, undated business card. Best remembered for his profound musical influence, “Fess” Whatley officially worked at Industrial / Parker High School not as bandmaster but as printing instructor. For years, his…

https://s3.amazonaws.com/omeka-net/69313/archive/files/4842c119196a61cc0461f19669756549.jpeg
Bandleader John T. "Fess" Whatley stands at far left in the center row. Many of Whatley's students would go on to professional careers as jazz musicians.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/omeka-net/69313/archive/files/28ed611bd53866697e6c2c36e91953e3.jpeg
Industrial High School Band, 1930-1931. Band director John T. “Fess” Whatley at far right.
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