Grady McMurtry’s Secret Life in Music

Robert Flores put up another fascinating post regarding OTO history on his FB feed, to wit:

“A Little-Known Chapter in the Life of Grady Louis McMurtry…

“Grady’s father spent little time with him and his childhood wasn’t the most ‘stable’ spending time moving from home to home living with various relatives etc… and because of this he attended several schools. However, at times even the simplest of gifts from our parents can have a profound effect on the direction our life takes. Apparently, Grady’s father was quite the Trombone player and he taught Grady how to play. Later Grady would make friends with a few ‘Chicano kids’ who played in the local high school band. Grady would play with them in the local park Gazebo on Friday nights and was soon one of the gang. In time, he discovered that a few of them were intending on going to Pasadena Junior College and that they had a chance to do so tuition free being that the college had a program which targeted under-privileged students. They also had an inside with the Dean who was known for accepting young talented musicians from certain schools in the area. When the day came to apply for admission Grady tagged along with his friends and when the Dean asked them all if they were the Students from the Selma High School band they all answered yes, including Grady. His friends covered for him and this is how our future Caliph was able to attend college. Much of this part of Grady’s life is well known and you can read further details in “The Name of the Beast” – Red Flames number 12 and 13 by Jerry Cornelius (a few copies of which are still available thru BSO).

Now for lesser known part…

Grady, as many of you already know, also began writing poetry while in high school and these two passions of his would come together when not long after joining the military the young Lieutenant McMurtry would write a song entitled “The Combat Engineers” and submited it to the War Department for publication. From there it was sent over to those in charge of a periodical by the name of “The Military Engineer” … Grady’s song would be copyrighted and later published in this periodical in March of 1944. Here is a rare peek into this chapter of his life…

1) A young Grady with Trombone
2) “The combat Engineers” – sheet music
3) Cover to the issue which published Grady’s music
4) The submission letter


Frater Lux Ad Mundi

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