Oscar J. Lehrer
Oscar J. Lehrer
“Daddy Lehrer…the man who is credited with playing a large part in developing the music of Oklahoma…a prolific writer of music.”
Oscar J. Lehrer was born in Transylvania and studied violin at the Mediasch Seminary. He graduated from the Industrial Mechanical and Art School in Romania in 1889 and, at the age of 18, came to America and joined the cavalry at Fort Reno in 1891. After his discharge, he formed the First Regimental Band of the Oklahoma National Guard at Guthrie. In 1900 he married the sister of Oklahoma Governor M.E. Trapp and became the director of music at Central State Normal School (now the University of Central Oklahoma) in Edmond, Oklahoma (1900-1912). He studied public school music at the National Summer School at Chicago, Illinois, in 1909. From 1912 to 1916 he served as director of music at the University Preparatory School (now Northern Oklahoma College) in Tonkawa. In 1918, Lehrer moved his family to Norman and served as the director of the University of Oklahoma band until 1925. A distinguished composer and director, Lehrer organized the Zack Mulhall Cowboy band and toured the United States (1902-1903). He composed more than 86 anthems and wrote numerous violin solos, cantatas, and operettas. Lehrer was also the composer of teaching methods for violin and wrote church and concert music for voice and instrumentals.
Oscar Lehrer composed “Caravan,” a favorite march of John Philip Sousa that was played during Sousa’s last concert in Oklahoma City, and classic western film star Tom Mix once served as Lehrer’s drum major.
Lehrer first came to Oklahoma in 1891 as a member of the cavalry posted at Fort Reno.