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Marv Schreiner, Temptating Rhythms, Savanna
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Temptating Rhythms and Sounds of Gold

Updated at 1435 February 21, 2002. Please check back during the next week. I will be building a nice history on Marv Schreiner's band leading, musician career including some recordings of his last band Sounds of Gold teamed together with Main Avenue Jazz of Mount Carrol in 1996 and with Marv playing saxophone and clarinet with the Larry Palmer Band in 1968 and with Don Karol's band in Clinton, Iowa in 1989.

In the meantime, you can see photos of a very young Marv when you visit the link to Paul V. Stevens, Jr., photo album. Savanna area dancers knew Marv Schreiner as well as any musician from the immediate area. Marv touched a lot of musicians and dancers during his 61 years as a dance band leader and musician. Thanks, Gary Scott Law

Who made up Marv's late 1930's-mid-1940's orchestra Temptating Rhythms from engagement to engagement? Here are the sidemen: Pianist Lyle Ham, Bass Fiddler Frank Espisito, Drummer Don Hanson were original four. Soon came Guitarist/Vocalist Alan Campbell, Drummer Orville Cook, Clarence Eaton, John Mirosh, Drummer Tommy Prendergast, Pianist Seward Johnson, Duane Lehr, Drummer Wade Law, Pianist Vernetta Homedew Near. In April, 1941 the orchestra had a girl vocalist named Cleo ?

Pianist Vernette Homedew remembers playing high schools dances in 1937, 1938 with Marv's Temptating Rhythms before her grandmother made her quit because she was the only girl in the band.

Marv Schreiner was born November 6, 1922 at 111 Bowen Street, previously known as the Ordle's house in this Savanna, Illinois neighborbood. Five blocks east, at 600 Bowen, is where Wayne King was born on February 18, 1901 and only a few blocks away from where Ralph Slade could be heard practicing by girls and boys passing through the alley way next to his house.

Marv's sister Norma recalls neighbors up and down the street gathering on front porches to play and sing music during the mid-1930's. Marv and Norma's immediate neighbor friends where Tim and Mike Olson. The Project will soon identify if this was on Van Street where their Grandmother Flowers lived until June 1938, or if they were living on Bowen Street with their mother during the mid-1930's.

Circa 1935 Marv won first prize, a soprano saxophone,in a contest at the Webb Theatre located on the east side at the south end of Main Street across from city hall in Savanna. At about this time Marv was taking lessons from the bandleader of the danceband known as the Super Six. In 1999, former Band Leader, 87 year-old, Bud Riddle stated "Marv came to me for two years until he was better than me."

During Marv's sophomore school year (1936-1937) at Savanna Township High School, he started his first danceband called Temptating Rhythms and the band's theme song was "Temptation." Bing Crosby had recorded "Temptation" in March 1934. Temptating Rhythms Trumpeter John Hanson wrote in March 1998 "Marv Schreiner's band's theme song was the well known tune "Temptation. This is hauntingly beautiful tune, with a very difficult choice of chords. It took me months to pick out harmony to it when I played jobs with Marv -- But it was finally perfected." In December 2001, Lyle Ham wrote "...The most requested tune was 'Stardust.' We generally closed with "I'll See You in My Dreams."

Marv's Temptating Rhythms consisted of an aspiring group of musicians who breathed music from early in the morning to after midnight to make money, attract girls, and gain some of the noriety of the big bands to whom they listened and whose sheet music they purchased and traded. These 1930's teenagers knew about successful area musicians such as Wayne King, Ralph Slade, Harry Grissinger, Jack Jenney and Bix Beiderbecke. They hitch-hiked to see the Tiny Hill Orchestra at the Modernistic Ballroom in Clinton and others at the RKO in Davenport. Remember Marv did not turn 14 until November 22, 1936. Trumpeter John Hanson has one report that Marv's new group played the Golden Pheasant Ballroom in Clinton, Iowa on New Year's Eve in 1936. Reportedly a record was cut. It will be interesting to confirm this.
Pianist Lyle Hams 1935-47 diary is replete with bits about Marv and his Temptating Rhythms. Lyle now age 80 wrote the following paragraphs from memory in December 2001:

"I don't remember just when, in high school, around 1937-38 I believe (In 1997 Marv stated it was 1936 when he was a sophomore), Marv Schreiner (sax), Frank Espisito (bass)and I and possibly a drummer (Don Hansen, maybe...this is correct) formed our little combo...Our first gig was at Cain's on Chicago Avenue...where Kenney Bimm's place was later. There was a bar in front and small dance floor with booths around it in the back. It was a rather nice place, popular with the "nice" young married couples.

Later we played quite often at Runyan's and Canavan's on lower 4th Street, which were not so nice. At one time Runyan's was popular with wood choppers who were in town chopping down trees in the low places along the river that would be flooded by the dams that were being built. They were a rough bunch.

We played for school dances. Once, in a place in Clinton, where there was the scent of marijuana in the air. But ordinarily we didn't play in Clinton because we didn't belong to the musicians union, which was strong there. Once we played for a barn dance in the country somewhere over around Chadwick or Milledgeville. The piano had been rained on and many of the keys were missing or stuck together. I just did the best I could. We ordinarily got $2 playing 9:00 to 1:00, $5 on New Year's Eve."

The following are excerpts about Marv Schreiner from Pianist Lyle Ham's diary (for full entries select link to Lyle Ham's 1935-1947 diary):

February 11, 1938 - "I just came home from orchestra practice at Mrs. Flowers' (Marv's grandmother with whom he lived)...We are playing at Poffenberger's tavern Saturday night..." (Note Mrs. Flowers lived on Van Street until late June 1938, then moved to Bowen Street).

March 6, 1938 - "Marvin Schreiner and Orville Cook are going to play a saxophone duet at the Lutheran Church Tues. night and I am to be the accompanist. So that means more practice."

March 23, 1938 - "After supper we had orchestra (Temptating Rhythms) practice at Mrs. Flowers' house.

April 17, 1938 - "We listened to the radio, heard Mrs. Hal Smith of Savanna play and sing her own composition, which has just been released to the publishers. This was on station WROK, Rock Island. We also heard Peggy Fuller, whi is going to play for our prom. (included this because it's reasonable to assume "We listened to the radio" included Marv and the orchestra.)

April 22, 1938 - "Orchestra practice at 6:30. The moon hop--a gingham and oversalls affair--at 8:00, for which we (the combo) played, was a success."

April 26, 1938 - "Decided not to play on the radio Sunday. Will probably play two weeks from Sunday."

April 29, 1938 - "The orchestra played at Poffy's tavern. The piano was terrible but we did pretty good. I made $1.25. We are going to play there again next Sunday."

May 14, 1938 - "We (Temptating Rhythms) practiced until until 8:30. Then up to Carl's place (Vaccaro) where we played until 1:00."

May 21, 1938 - "Marvin and I had a good time practicing 'The Big Apple.' Played at Carl's place. Didn't do very good, but are going to play next week. Grissinger is trying to stop us from playing (maybe because we are not unionized."

May 24, 1938 - "After school I went to Flowers' and practiced with Marvin."

May 25, 1938 - "When I got home (from Clinton) I had to practice with Marvin for tonight. I played at the Moose Hall for him and Duane Lehr and also played a solo."

May 30, 1938 - "Was all dirty and just ready to get cleaned up for bed when the rest of the orchestra came after me to go to Glengarry Country Club to play. I hadn't known anything about it. But I was glad to go. Had to hurry to get ready. Got $1.25."

June 3, 1938 - "Left at 6:00 for Flowers' to practice. Left for school at 7:30. Our orchestra played for the fair."

June 17, 1938 - "Alan Campbell was here and told me about practice and also that 'three of us are going to play every week night at Elmwood; would get a $1.00 each.' Went to orchestra practice at 2:00 at Flowers' on Van Street for the last time..."

June 28, 1938 - "About 1:30 Marvin came and told me we play at Elmwood tomorrow night."

June 25, 1938 - "Got 'Joseph, Joseph' (sheet music). Went to orchestra practice till 9:30, then all except Campbell to Clifton's (ice cream parlor). Campbell wouldn't speak to us."

June 26, 1938 - "Got a ride back from up town with the orchestra on the way to Clinton. Marvin got a clarinet, (Orville) Cook a sax. A man told me I could play good. Got barrel sweaters and striped pants (as uniforms) for the whole orchestra."

August 8, 1938 - "We think we will play for the V.F.W. Tues. night."

October 11, 1938 - "Letter from Dean of Student, Frances Shimer Junior College, Mt. Carroll, Il. to Frank Espisito, Savanna, Il. 'This letter is to confirm our telephone converstation of last Saturday in which it was agreed that your and your band would play at an informal dance here at Frances Shimer on October 15 from 8:00 until 12:00. The price mentioned was $18. You understand of course, that in coming to a school such as this that your conduct must be above reproach. Any evidences of discourteous behavior will make this contract invalid. I shall be looking for you at West Hall Lounge sometime before 8:00 next Saturday night.'"

March 2, 1939 - "Saw my first big band tonight: Tiny Hill at the Modernistic Ballroom in Clinton. My first time there."

March 7, 1939 - "...We played in Lanark Fri. and I got $2.50... Fri. next we will play at Lanark again and the next two Mondays we play for the Women's Club. We have been offered a program on the radio once a week for two months, free gratis, of course. In a week or two we play at the Odd Fellows Hall."

March 7, 1939 - "Thurs. night Marvin and I hitch-hiked to Clinton to see Tiny Hill. We got a ride down from Chestnut Park Grocery right down to the Modernistic. It looked like we were going to have to walk back but we got a ride thru Clinton to the bridge with a drunk who felt very sorry for us and almost took us home. He was all over the road. We walked the bridge and by very good luck Russell Ward picked us up in Fulton...Tiny Hill's youngest member is 18. Marvin and I had a short talk with him. He makes $200 a week."

March 21, 1939 - "Sun. I have orchestra practice and that's where I was last Sun. We just have to practice because we've completely re-organized, 7 members, and we have a job a week from Saturday."

July 17, 1939 - "Played in Sabula Sat. I think Marvin and I are going to start playing in an orchestra from Hanover 3 or 4 nights a week. I hope so."

Jan 15, 1940 - "We only made $1 a piece plus expenses at the dance Sat. night. We only played 2 hours. I guess the people were afraid to come in the storm. We're going to play the job over again in Feb. sometime. I could have used that $3 very nicely."

March 6, 1940 - "Marvin & I are playing for the (Chicago) Avenue P.T.A. tonight. I don't know for sure if I'm going to Clinton Thurs. or if we are going to play for the Jr. Class play Fri. We are supposed to play for the Old Time Sing Thurs. eve... Marve and I practicing after school tonight."

March 5, 1941 - "Want to see Tiny Hill tomorrow night. Played for Marvin tonight at Chestnut Park P.T.A. Have to play Sat. night, maybe Fri., too. Went to E. Dubuque to 'Hill Top Casino' and Galena Sun. night."

April 21, 1941 - "Don Hansen is getting along very well at Normal...(Maybe it was after Don left Savanna that Orville Cook and Tommy Prendergast played drums with us). Mon. night I went up with Marvin to Galena. They played there. They have a singer named Cleo now (not my sister). Frank (Espisito) also along."

May 7, 1941 - "I have all the orchestra music here so I've really been playing lots. We played Thurs. night for U. & I Club. $3.35 each for 2 hrs. 14 min. Then Sat. and Sun. at Canavan's. (on lower South 4th Street).

Auguest 15, 1941 - "Mon. we went to Lawrence Welk. Got home at 2:45. Tues. was the (excursion) boat; got home at 1:00. Frank (Espisito) is playing 4 nights a week now and Marve works 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM driving cab and 4:00 to 10:30 at Stransdale (dairy store) and everyone else is holding down two jobs."

Jan. 19, 1942 - "Marvin and I played for entertainment at the Officers' Club Party at the Post (Savanna Ordinance Depot) Mon. night."

May 7, 1942 - "We're playing at the Hob Nob tonight and Sat. at the Moose. Mon. the 18th we're playing over KROS, Clinton, from 7:30 to 8:00. Joined the musicians' union in Clinton. It cost $10 and we got our first year dues free. It's really going to be worth it because otherwise we couldn't play on the radio or anywhere in Clinton."

June 25, 1942 - "As soon as I get back from my vacation...we can get the Hob Nob two nights a week at $4 a night in addition to the U.S.O. Next time you're up to my room and I'm here remind me to play my record we had made of our last broadcast over KROS."

Sept 2, 1942 - "Dorothy is here this week. We went for a ride with Marvin and Janet after the dance Sat. Sun. they met me at the Post (Savanna Ordinance Depot, where I was then working) entrance and we went to Dubuque. We had dinner at the Circle, then went to a show, to a dance at Crystal Ballroom and then to the Hilltop to see the floorshow."

April 4, 1946 - "Marvin thinks we should get the band together - make $8 a night."

April 12, 1946 - "Marve stills wants me to go in with him on band. Says we might be able to make $10 each a night."

May 20, 1946 - "Saw Marvin and he asked me to come to practice at this grandmother's tonight. Later: to Marvin's to listen to practice."

June 4, 1946 - "To rehearsal with Marve and Janet Schreiner at the Moose Club. I helped out quite a bit by taking (Dick) McWorthy's place (on piano).

August 5, 1946 - "We had orchestra practice Sun. afternoon. I'm practicing with Paul Stevens' orchestra again tonight."
 
August 13, 1946 - "We are going to practice Sat. night.  Have a dance job coming up Tues. night - Lakeview, that new place out in Chestnut Park, next Frank Moore's.  Marvin came up Mon. night and asked me to play with them.  Dick McWorthy got drunk at the last dance they played and he got mad and fired everyone - but it really amounted to his firing himself because the rest of them are still together and I guess I'll be taking Dick's place - at least for a while.  We only make $5.00 at this next job in Lakeview because they promised to play two jobs for that amount for advertisement.  If the crowd is as good Tues. as it was the last time they played, we will get a job there regularly at our our regular price - $10 per man.  There just four of--Marvin, John Hanson on trumpet and Wade Law on drums.  It sounded pretty good at practice, although it will take a little while for me to get used to playing with a band again.  I've just about given up the idea of playing with Stevens.  It's going to involve too much rehearsal and too many out-of-town jobs for the money that's in it.  Beside, it's more fun playing in a small band, and easier, and more what I'm used to, especially with Marve playing."
 
September 21, 1946 -
 
September 26, 1946 -
 
October 16, 1946 -
 
November 4, 1946 -
 
November 24, 1946 -
 
January 18, 1947 -