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Fillmore Citrus Association Bass Drum in the Smithsonian

Fillmore Methodist c 1912.jpg

Antonio Gomez with Drum, 2018

Brandy Lengning recently sent us some photos taken while in Washington with Jennifer Beal’s group “Fillmore Freedom Flyers” who had been touring the Smithsonian Museum. Brandy and the entire group were surprised to see Fillmore represented in a display. It was the bass drum from the Fillmore Citrus Association Mexican Band. We wish we could say it came from our collection, but instead it has been well taken care of by the Museum of Ventura County. But we do have some back story on the drum.

We have recounted the history of the band before, especially in our profile of Frank Erskine, Manager of the Fillmore Citrus Association and founder of the band. There were actually two bands the “American” band and the “Mexican” band but frequently they were combined into one group.

Fillmore Citrus Association Bass Drum in the Smithsonian

Mexican Independence Day Celebration, Guadalupe, CA , Sept 16, 1929.

In 2018, Antonio Gomez and family members visited our Museum looking for the bass drum. At that time he presented us with a picture of Mexican Independence Day Celebration in Guadalupe, CA , Sept 16, 1929. Picture features the Fillmore Citrus Assn Band with the bass drum front and center. Antonio’s father, J. Loreto Gomez Cortez is one of the trumpet players in the band.

We did not have the drum, but Executive Director Martha Gentry, suspected the Museum of Ventura County might have it. She called and was told they did have it, in fact, they were in the process of crating it up to send to the Smithsonian. Antonio left immediately for Ventura and later sent us a picture of himself and the drum.

Our thanks to Jennifer Beal for leading the trip to Washington, DC, to Lady Jo Becerra for the picture of the display, and to Brandy Lengning for the news. Special thanks to the Museum of Ventura County for caring for the drum all these years.

Fillmore Citrus Assn Bass Drum on display at the Smithsonian Museum, October 2023

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