Mike Dardis and the Joe Dardis Band

East addition, 1970s

East addition, 1970s

We moved to Garden Home in 1951 when I was in the sixth grade. We were living in Portland in the Grant High School area at the time and weren’t planning on moving. At that time my mother, Catherine Dardis, had several dachshunds, which she showed at Portland Kennel Club events. For some time she had been thinking of breeding dogs and she had met someone through the club who had property in Garden Home, which was for sale.

We had two and one-quarter acres, which bordered on the north side by the Frank Estate, on another by the corner of the Portland Golf Club and the west side by SW 78th Street. The Oregon Electric Railroad had originally passed through part of the northern section on an elevated rail line separating us from the Frank Estate. We were told property as well as part the house had originally been a Girl Scout Camp during the first part of the 1900’s.

Note: “The pictures of the house are recent, having been taken in June. 2013.”

Girl Scout Camp

The part of the house dating from the time the property was used as a camp began at the front door and lead down the hall to include several bedrooms and the bathroom. We assume this was used as the Camp Lodge or may have been an administrative office building. A small sloping indentation in the ground existed to the north next to the road coming onto the property. It was about fifteen feet in diameter with what appeared to be a fire pit, which might have been used as a campfire site.  We thought it might have been an amphitheater for camp gatherings. Being right next to a curve in the road it presented a problem driving home. If you didn’t slow down you were in danger of going off the road and ending up there! After Dad’s passing, in 1984, the property was sold and subdivided and a new home was built over that part of the property.

One of the chores my brother, Alan, and I had was cleaning the kennels. It was a lot of work and something that needed to be done on a regular basis. As a young boy it wasn’t always where I wanted to spend my time. As a consequence, I’ve never had a dachshund since becoming an adult. But something both Alan and I did enjoy was learning to play golf.

Portland Golf Club

At that time it was possible to get onto the Portland Golf Club property through a small latched gate that was on the corner on the Riding Academy Trail. The gate led onto the final few holes of the course and at the end of the day we could play there watching out for the Golf Club gardeners who would chase you away if they caught you. Another benefit of living near the Golf Club was the opportunity it offered for collecting golf balls. So many balls ended up in the wooded area at the side of the course that it didn’t take much time to find enough balls for our own use. There was never a need for us to buy our own golf balls.

Joe Dardis Band

My dad, Joe Dardis, was a bandleader. He had attended the University of Portland and had a band that played dance band music. The music being played then by the big bands such as Tommy Dorsey and Glen Miller was known as swing music and that is what Dad’s band played. The Joe Dardis Band was made up of eight musicians. As far as I can remember they organized and began playing sometime in the 1930’s. *

He was an amazing musician.  As a boy I can remember going around to music stores, which in those days sold sheet music, and standing next to Dad while he selected a piece of music.  When we got home Dad would sit at the piano and play a few notes, pause, make a few notations on a blank score sheet and them play a few more notes, make a few more notations, and continue to do this over and over again until he had composed the entire piece for his eight different instruments. This took some time, as he had to make separate scores for each instrument in the band.  As a child I was amazed by his ability to do that.

The band played together for many years until sometime around 1970. They played dance music for many venues throughout the Portland area and were especially popular with the high school and dance club population. The Joe Dardis Band played for all of the Portland High School proms and many of the graduation programs. The Band was regularly booked to play every Friday and Saturday night for six months in advance starting in January each year. Dad was also very active in the American Federation of Musicians twice serving as the organization’s Portland president for over 25 years. **

From an interview with Mike Dardis by Virginia Vanture, June 17, 2013.

Mike Dardis, 2011

Mike Dardis, 2011

*From THE BEACON, the Student Voice of the University of Portland Since 1935, January 28, 2010, “UP’s Dances Throughout the Decades”, Kyle Cape-Lindelin.
“Dances continued to be an annual fun activity for students as the years continued but they didn’t quite take a serious turn until the Senior Ball of 1929 with students dressed in tuxedos and evening dresses. Joe Dardis, a local bandleader, preformed with his band it was this event that really made dances a tradition at UP as a result of the reviews it got from seniors.”

**From the NORTHWEST LABOR PRESS, September 3, 2010, “Hosts of Unionists Served on Labor Press Board.”
“Two Musicians Local 99 presidents who were major cords on the Labor Press board over a span of 40 years were Herman Kenin, a lawyer who went on to become his union’s international president in 1958, and Joe Dardis, a popular swing band leader who chaired the board for a decade.”

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1 Response to Mike Dardis and the Joe Dardis Band

  1. Pingback: Don Krom memior | Garden Home History Project

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