Like father, like son (and even like grandson) is an adage that has new meaning to the U.S. Postal Service band, which this year is touting three generations of music tooters.
When the 40-plus member band marches down Main Street during the Days of '47 Parade, David Porter Sr., his son, David Jr., and David Jr.'s son, Sam, will make their united debut - their first performance together on Utah's anniversary celebration.Over the years, the well-known band has featured several family groups: five father-son combinations, one father-daughter and one mother-son.
But the Porters are the only grandfather-father-son combo in the band's 70-year history.
The band was organized in 1920, but it wasn't until 1946 that Dave Sr. began making musical history.
"My sixth-grade schoolteacher came over when I was playing pool one night in August, tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I still blew on my tooter," he recalled.
Porter's clarinet was his ticket to Detroit with the Postal Service band. The band paid all expenses; all he had to do was "blow, march and play."
He's been playing such great tunes as "Queen City," "Them Basses" and "The Washington Post March" ever since in such places as Seattle, New York, Cleveland, San Francisco, Denver, Miami Beach, Boston, Hawaii, New Orleans, Houston, Chicago, Atlanta and Las Vegas.
The band goes to a U.S. Postal Service convention every two years to various cities, and the retired Fort Douglas employee has missed only a few trips.
Several have been especially memorable, though sometimes for the wrong reasons.
In 1960, a band member was hit by a car in St. Louis. Two years later, a hotel fire in Denver destroyed some of the band members' clothing and instruments.
Fortunately in 1964, their luck improved. They missed being in one of Miami Beach's worst hurricanes by two days.
The 1968 trip was another story.
On the return bus trip from Boston, one of the buses caught fire in New York, delaying the trip - but giving band members and their wives a chance to visit some historical sites.
Since 1950 when Dave Sr. and his wife, Phyllis, traveled with the band on their honeymoon, the trips have been a family affair.
Dave Jr., who'd been "tapping on the walls and furniture since age 5," joined the band in 1967, becoming the main drummer on the 1968 Boston jaunt. Following family tradition, he and his wife, June, honeymooned with the band in Seattle in 1974.
Then last year, Sam was recruited.
"Sam at an early age wanted to play the accordion," said Dave Jr., Utah press secretary for Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. "I successfully lured him away from that to something he could play in the band. I had such a good time with my Dad that I wanted him in there too."
For years, Sam, 15, has been practicing the trombone just to be able to play in the band - "to be with Grandpa and my Dad."
For the threesome, the hobby's a nearly full-time commitment. The band practices at Granite High School every Thursday night. In addition to conventions, the patriotic musical group, identified by the members'red scarfs and socks, performs in eight or nine parades annually - including one on Sam's birthday.
Sam, a student at Davis High, was born on the Fourth of July.
"He always thought the fireworks and marching bands were all for him," Dave Jr. said. "It wasn't until later in life that he figured out it was for the other (Uncle) Sam."