Most often known simply as R. B. Hall, this composer lived most of his life in Maine. He was born in 1858 and died in 1907. He was born in Bowdoinham, ME to Mr. and Mrs. Nathaniel W. Hall. Robert took lessons on E-flat cornet from his father and later added B-flat cornet to the instruments he played. His father died in 1874 and Robert took a job at a shoe factory to help provide income for his mother and two sisters. He was eventually able to pursue a career in music and first found employment in music as a cornet soloist. Later he served as conductor of various ensembles and taught music at Colby College.
His rigorous schedule, combined with stress and ill health, resulted in his early death (likely from complications of nephritis) at age 48. Hall’s memory might have faded into obscurity had it not been for several individuals who championed his talent and musicianship. The last Saturday in June is now known as “R. B. Hall Day” after legislation enacted by the Maine State Legislature.
His memorable works include “Officer of the Day,” “The New Colonial” and one of our favorites, the lesser known “March RLIB” composed for the Richmond Light Infantry Blues.
Texas trivia note: The Richmond Light Infantry Blues Band performed at the launching of the first battleship of the United States Navy, named the Texas, in 1892. This warship is not to be confused with the more familiar U.S.S. Texas that saw service in World Wars I and II. The word Blues in the name of the Richmond, Virginia military organization referred to the color of their uniforms and not to a genre of music.
R. B. Hall’s Officer of the Day (YouTube).
R. B. Hall’s March RLIB (YouTube).
R. B. Hall’s Tenth Regiment – Death or Glory (YouTube).