P.G. Lowery: Gabriel’s Right Hand Man

“Good things cometh to he who waiteth as long as he hustleth while he waiteth.” — P.G.; Lowery

African American bandmaster,musician and impresario Perry G. Lowery (1869-1942) was born this day. The son of slaves, Lowery was born into a large family on a Kansas farm acquired on a land grant. The family was extremely musical, playing and singing together at informal gatherings. Lowery taught himself the cornet. He played with various vaudeville and minstrel shows in the 1890s and studied briefly in Boston before founding P. G. Lowery’s Famous Concert Band and P. G. Lowery’s Vaudeville Company in 1899. In the 20th century, he was to become the circus world’s first African American bandmaster, leading bands for Forepaugh and Sells, Hagenenbeck-Wallace, Ringling Brothers, Cole Brothers, and others for decades. He also toured with his own minstrel shows, published scholarly articles, and composed his own music, in addition to being an earlier supporter of Scott Joplin and other ragtime composers. For his cornet playing, W.C. Handy was said to have  dubbed him “Gabriel’s right hand man.”P.G. Lowery was inducted into Coney Island USA’s Sideshow Hall of Fame in 2011