HRUBY, FRANK, SR. (IV) (1856-9 Dec. 1912) became one of Cleveland's foremost band leaders and patriarch of one of America's most renowned musical families. Born in Cehnice, Bohemia, the elder Hruby obtained his first musical job with the Hagenbeck Circus, beginning at the age of 9 and and finishing as director of its 3 bands. For several years he then played in a band at Brighton Beach, Eng., before returning to Bohemia to organize a band that toured through parts of Europe. Hruby came to America in 1883, advised by Czech-born band leader Joseph Zamecnik of a need for experienced musicians in Cleveland. After obtaining a job through Zamecnik's intercession with the orchestra of the EUCLID AVE. OPERA HOUSE, he brought his wife Katerina (1861-1933) and infant son Frank to Cleveland. In 1889 Hruby reorganized the Great Western Band, leading it in appearances in city parks, at the dedication of the SOLDIERS' & SAILORS' MONUMENT in 1894, and at the Republican Natl. Convention in St. Louis in 1896. As a total of 8 children arrived, he taught them all to play various instruments and organized them into a family band. In 1912 he took them to Europe for a 5-month tour in which they played a repertoire of Sousa marches and the new American novelty, ragtime. Several months later, the elder Hruby died in his home on E. 51st St., survived by his wife and 8 children (see HRUBY FAMILY).


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