Sousa Comes to Amarillo, 1925

“Boy Soprano Cared More for Cave Than Warbling for Sousa”

This was a headline in the Fort Worth Star Telegram, December 24, 1925. The great band leader had come to the Panhandle to do a concert. Thirteen year old “Balie” (actually spelled Bailey) Warren had been invited to sing for the Sousa Band over the initial objections of John Phillip Sousa, who had said that the band carried its own soloist. Sousa relented and young Bailey was asked to sing.

The article related that the boy was well known in the area as a soloist and came to sing with the band, but that he had been anxious to get back to a cave that he and his pals were digging in his back yard. Young Bailey was typically fearless before a crowd and did well that day, but at the end of the concert, he took off for home to return to his friends and the cave they were digging.

“Good night,” he exclaimed, disgustedly: “that’s the way it always goes when I am trying to do something. The kids have gone home, and we can’t finish the cave until tomorrow,” the article concluded, quoting Bailey.

The 1930 Census showed that the 17 year old Bailey was living with his parents and working at a radio station in Amarillo. It’s thought that the family then moved to California. In the 1940 Census, Bailey was still living in California in that report, he listed his occupation as singer and entertainer. Bailey apparently went on to have a career in the radio-television business.

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