The When Clothing Company store manager was John T. Brush, who later on became manager of a celebrated major league baseball club and was known all over the country. He was a fine man, as many people will remember. Mr. Brush furnished us with a complete set of Swiss bells at his expense, and we began practicing with the new outfit. This innovation created a new impetus for us, and our little organization was christened "The Alliance Orchestra and Swiss Bell Ringers." Our rehearsals with the new outfit resuted in a splendid rendition of several well-known selections for Swiss bells, and together with our orchestra numbers and a reader or comedian (who was our drummer, Pink Hall), we made up a fine program for an evening's entertainment.
A number of towns were booked, and we started out with zest, thoroughly convinced that our venture would prove a success as well as a money-maker for the When Clothing Company. All of us doubling on brass, we played half an hour outside the theatres before each concert, and also serenaded the newspapers in the different towns. These customs now, evidently, are of the post.
Our season lasted for several weeks, during which time we found that, as our little band certainly played well, the crowds were greatest outside the theatre, but inside there were many vacant seats. We found ourselves in financial straits, for although each man was to receive equal pay after all expenses were paid, our receipts were hardly enough to pay for transportation, let alone our hotel bills. My salary for the entire time amounted to six dollars, and this I borrowed from Mr. Brush, one day, when he came on to see how we were doing.
After finishing this short, unsuccessful trip, we came back to Indianapolis, and the dissension among the orchestra members, petty jealousies and criticisms that the situation seemed to breed, cooled my ambition to become a professional musician. Prior to this I had seen only the sunny side of professional life, especially since I had never spent much time talking with the men, my practicing keeping me occupied in all my spare moments. Now there was a lack of money to pay my running expenses, and business was very poor, which I believed was due to our "strike" at the theatre.
I began to realize that if I ever expected to make anything out of my life as a businessman, it was high time to get started, for I was now nineteen years old. After my parents had moved to Rochester, New York, their letters again urged me to come home and get into some good business, and this, also, had some influence on me now. I made up my mind to take fathers reiterated advice, and try for a connection in some business house. This time I left Indianapolis for good, and arrived home in Rochester early in December, 1886, prepared to give up music altogether. First of all, as the Y.M.C.A. had helped so many industrious boys, I joined the organization, placed my name on the register of applicants for any kind of employment to start at any salary, and waited. A couple of weeks passed, but still nothing turned up. Meanwhile, I canvassed the whole town, going from store to store, asking if a good healthy boy were needed, but with no better results. There did not seem to be a single vacancy in any line of busines.