Bandsman of the Year!

Find out how we select a member for this prestigious award and who that member is for 2019-20!

James “Moose” Fitzgerald – Election 2022

James "Moose" Fitzgerald Running for ASOB President

Greeting fellow Nobles.

My name is James “Moose” Fitzgerald. I am a member of the El Riad Oriental Band in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I have been a member of “THE BAND” since day ONE.

I am currently serving as the 2nd Vice President for the ASOB.

I am a past President of our Oriental Band, past ASOB Mid-West Ambassador and past ASOB quartermaster.

I have had great times and memories attending Imperial Sessions and meeting so many fellow bandsmen. Some of the best have been just conversing with the past ASOB Presidents. I have met 22 (out of the last 26).

I have had multiple conversations with our 3rd Vice President about how we can move foreword. Lets GET BACK to Imperial! Charlotte N.C. 2023! The other Noble Fitzgerald is with me on this. We have a plan. That plan entails not only band competition, but possible individual performances and small group/duets. We need to set-up a booth at the market place. ADVERTISE! The Oriental Band is one of the oldest units recognized by Imperial!

I would like to do a monthly ZOOM meeting with all the Ambassadors and any Band that wants to engage. Bottom line is "What can WE do for you?"

I would like to restart the fall Executive committee meeting. Things that have come to your attention, that need to be addressed NOW.

I think that the Mid Winter meeting is essential. That we meet face-to-face and HASH things out that effect the overall good of the association.

Something that I will always remember talking to a past President:
“Flying into an airport for Imperial .. You can always pick out the guy that's an Oriental Bandsman. There is a bounce to his step and an air about him!”

I would like for you to take into consideration my name as the next ASOB President.

James “Moose” Fitzgerald

Message From James “Moose” Fitzgerald

Greetings fellow Nobles and Bandsmen!

Let me introduce myself. I am James “Moose” Fitzgerald. I currently am the 2nd Vice President of the A.S.O.B.

I grew up in Beresford, South Dakota where I currently reside. I left for the U.S. Navy upon graduation from Beresford High School. I served 20 year on active duty (mostly in the Pacific). I retired as a Chief Petty Officer. I returned back to my hometown upon retirement.

In 2009 I was raised a Master Mason. One month later I was initiated as a Shriner with the El Riad Shrine in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The following weekend I marched in my first parade. I was hooked, and I still am.

I have attended many Imperial Sessions where I have met many fellow OBer's. Attending these events I have the great fortune to have met and conversed with every past ASOB President back to the 1997-1998 ASOB President Paul Pante (Sahib), with the exceptions of Charles Duffin (Al Azhar), Len Turner (Karnak), Bob Johnson (Beni Kedem), and Peter Lawn (Gizeh).

I was an aide to Lonnie Merriman (El Riad) and assisted at Imperial for Richard “BIG” Thompson (El Hasa), Vince Bobrosky (Acca), and David McCarthy (Mosla).

I plan is to retire from my current employment at the close of this year and commit to bringing back those bands that have “fallen by the wayside “ over the years.



I know this pandemic put a strain on many bands and moving forward we will regain our strength as an association and gather for competition and fellowship.

I hope to see many of my friends, and make new ones in the upcoming year.

James “Moose” Fitzgerald

John Fitzgerald – Election 2022

John Fitzgerald - Running for ASOB First Vice President

Greetings Nobles,

My name is John Fitzgerald, the Director of the Al Kader Oriental Band in Portland, Oregon. I have been in the Shrine since 1996, and part of the Masonic family for four generations in my home lodge, North Bank #182, in Washougal, WA.

Some of my greatest moments with the Oriental Band, and in Shrine in general, have been in working with the hospital in Portland, or visiting other hospitals in Hawaii, Houston, and Spokane to name a few. And of course, some of the most fun times have been in competing at Imperial Session, having jam sessions, helping the boys from Montana clean up the hospitality room one glass at a time.

Because of these great times in the past, and the hope I have for the future, I am putting forth my name to be considered for the position of First Vice President for the next year. The other Noble Fitzgerald and I have had a number of conversations about what we can do for the next couple of years to help build our organization. A shared goal we have is to bring our annual competition back in line with Imperial Session, and to develop a program to draw individual Oriental Bandsmen to come to our events during the Imperial Session. I would like to restructure our competition in a way to draw more bands, soloists, and small group participation. Furthermore, ensuring one or more Jam Sessions to bring in the bandsmen who may be attending with another unit or part of a Divan will be something to advertise.

Speaking of advertisement and communication, my goal for 2022-2023 will be to contact every Shrine center in North America and establish communications with them, as well as take an inventory to help our quartermaster create the database we all want to see on our website. With 5 phone calls per week over 52 weeks, we reckon we can accomplish this goal in one year. Inshallah!

The Al Kader Oriental Band has given so much to me, that I am excited to return what I can for both our band and the national organization.

In the Faith,

John Fitzgerald

2022 Jamboree Cancelled

2022 Jamboree Cancelled

Due to circumstances beyond our control, the ASOB Jamboree scheduled for May 5th to May 7th 2022 in Wichita, Kansas has bee cancelled. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Bill Bailey, ASOB President via email at:

President’s Message

Bill Bailey ASOB President

Presidents Message

As your new 2021-2022 President I, like all of you, are hoping the Covid thing is behind us and we can go back to life as close to normal as possible. The Ladder of Smiles did better than expected this last year because Units knew even in bad times the Children are our main reason for being Shriners. I have a modest good of 45,000 for my year and know it only takes a hundred dollar a member to reach that goal.

What we need back in the shrine and the OB is fun. Somewhere along the line some of us got old, now I am not saying everyone but you know who you are and should step up and be proud we have lived this long. A number of our good friends haven’t been so lucky. What we need to try to do is look back when we were more active and try to get that feeling back. People go where they can have a good time and many is the time I and most of you have been sitting around talking the ole times and the fun we had back then. We can’t party like we did in our 20’s for sure but for an hour or two we should be almost as good as we were.

In order for the sweetest music this side of heaven to continue we need of course new members. Look around you again with fresh eyes and see who might make a good bandsman. Check in with your son and your grandson and see if a legacy member is right for you. Call that member who hasn’t been around in a few years and see if you can get him back.

I like the Jamboree format and have enjoyed going these last few years. Let me say this next years will be different. You will be playing music pretty much every day. You will be playing to a large group of people besides our wives and girlfriends. Come to Wichita KS in May and have something to talk about again.

If you have any suggestion on how to make it better my personal email is I am proud to be a Shriner and do the work we do.

Bill Bailey


Second Vice President 2020-21 – Grady R. Vandiver, Jr.

Second Vice President 2020-21 – Grady R. Vandiver, Jr.

That is me in the picture located nearby, the new Second Vice President of ASOB International.  Being brought to you by the modern miracles and mysteries of the internet, the new way of doing almost everything.  Hopefully, it will be in person sometime during the ensuing year.

My story started on June 14, 1944, in Lake Charles, LA.  During the next 23 years, I lived in just about every state West of the Mississippi and a few on the Eastside.  Texas and later Oklahoma was considered home base.  In 1967 I mover with wife and daughter to Sand Springs, Oklahoma and this has been home base ever since.  I finished my formal education while living in Sand Springs, OK (near Tulsa) where I received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Tulsa.

Sand Springs is where I was raised a Master Mason in 1986 and joined the Tulsa Scottish Rite, Akdar Shrine, and the Akdar Shrine Oriental Band shortly thereafter. Through the years I have served as the secretary, treasurer, president, music director, and other positions in the band and have played most of the instruments.

In 2015 I was nominated and elected as the 4th Vice President of CSASOB and just recently became a past President of that organization. Through the years as a member of Akdar Shrine Oriental Band, we won many awards at the Central States meetings including first place in all categories at various times and myself as “Best Director, Small Bands” in 2003.

At the 2019 ASOB Jamboree in Nashville, TN, my second ever Jamboree, myself, and the main drummer for Akdar Shrine Oriental Band managed to win First Place in the Small Band category. Later in the year at the CSSA meeting in Sioux City, Iowa, Akdar joined forces with the India Shrine Oriental Band (Oklahoma City) and we managed to take home First Place in all three categories plus Best Director for medium size bands.

In the coming years, I will be working hard to meet the obligations that go with the position of 2nd Vice President and other positions in the Association of Shrine Oriental Bands.

AS you know our main duty and obligation is to help the Children.  This is primarily through the Ladder of Smiles.  The Ladder of Smiles is our, ASOB, charitable arm that contributes to the support of the main Shrine Hospitals for Children.  Our current ASOB President has set a goal of $50,000 for this year and we will need everyone’s help obtaining this goal.

The best way to keep abreast of the progress toward this goal and the happenings around the Shrine Oriental Band World is by visiting the ASOB web site (ASOB.ORG) often.  Here you will find the history of the ASOB organization and the Oriental Bands in your area and from across the World, current news about the BANDS, and a schedule of upcoming events from across the world of Shrine Oriental Bands.

If anyone out there has any questions or needs any help with/for their Band, please contact me or any of the other ASOB Officers.  We are here to help you and our organization.

Grady R. Vandiver, Jr.
2nd Vice President ASOB

First Vice President 2020-21 – Bill Bailey


I am Bill Bailey your 1st Vice President for this year and proud to be on the line trying to help this organization grow. We have had challenges we could never have guessed at only a short year ago and as most of you know this is not the year we planned for but it is the year we were dealt with. A lot of Temples have been closed since March and it isn’t clear when all will be open again. The Jamboree had to be canceled. We have become accustomed to using Skype and Zoom as the means of meetings. It looks like the end is not in sight so we will need to use some imagination to make things work again. Fundraisers are not impossible but must be done a bit differently.

I usually spend my winters in Costa Rica and in Panama City Panama working with the band down there since retirement and that has proven pretty much impossible this year so I am readying myself to live through my first Winter in 4 years here in Kansas.

CSSA Business meeting was held in Overland Park at the Abdallah Temple and was small but well attended. 1700 dollars was raised for the Ladder of Smiles with 1000 coming from the ASOBCS treasury.

I know it is easy to become negative towards pretty much everything right now but as Shriners, we need to look for the positive things going on right now and see if we can help them along.

What can the ASOB do to make things easier for you? What suggestions or aggravations do you have for the ASOB? Do you know who the last couple of Presidents were? Has your Ambassador called or come by a meeting? These are things we are trying to find out and need your help in learning. Email me at and let me know. We can only make it better with your help.

Bill Bailey
1st Vice President ASOB

Greetings from Richard “Bear” Sobek, ASOB President 2020-21


A healthy oriental band community for the benefit of Shriners Hospitals for children.

The ASOB Mission:
To provide the tools for fun, music, recruitment, and Ladder of Smiles fundraising for the oriental band community.

Greetings Band-Brothers:

It is now 2020-2021, the year of the Bear, and I am proud to have spent last year not only as a Member of the Abdallah Oriental Band but as an officer of the ASOB.  Now is the time to reflect on how to communicate the importance of the ASOB to the Shrine organization.  I am totally aware of what needs to be done.  Specifically, the ASOB philanthrope called the Ladder of Smiles will remain at the forefront of our fundraising.  Fundraising is essential for the continued success of Shriners Hospitals for Children.  I plan to focus the attention of the Elected Line Officers on increasing membership.  Additionally, a big welcome to our Regional Association Ambassadors as they are the key link between our membership and the ASOB.  As to fun, I am planning on having an exciting ASOB Jamboree in Kansas City at the end of May 2021.  Throughout the year the leadership team will be traveling to the various ASOB Associations to spread fun, and support at mid-winter and annual meetings.  Please know that as your President I want to get out the gorilla glue and patch the holes, so the value of the ASOB is known throughout the land.

I realize that the current epidemic environment is understandably hard on all, and particularly on your Temple as it remains temporarily closed thus leaving a gap in sharing.  Here at Abdallah, we have started Zoom stated meetings. Our OB also has rebounded and had our first meeting last Thursday evening.  Sadly, the Music Director (me) could not attend. I have been attending to my Lady following her surgery.

Enough about me. I am here to support your Band in every way possible.  Let us all join and make what started MANY years ago to elevate all Shrine Oriental Bands to be the pride of each Shrine Center.

I am always available and will answer any question or offer any help that I am able to.  I will rely on my predecessors to help this organization renew and prosper for the future.

From the flatlands of the central states (ASOBCS), I remain,

Richard “Bear” Sobek
President, ASOB
Music Director, Abdallah Oriental Band

Al Kader Oriental Band – History


Although we for many years have been a regular member of' the uniformed units of our temple, the oriental band. first got started with members of the Camel Herders. Chinook Stable No 45. At every ceremonial of Al Kader Temple, initiation into the Camel Herders takes place at high-noon. Music for this session was usually just a piano. Some of us thought that we shou1d do better than that music-wise and Noble Jim Bracco who times played said piano, came up with the idea of forming an oriental band. The idea took hold and Sahib Jim wrote one of the greatest bandsmen of all, the late Monty FerDon who at that time was Sec'y-Treas. and National Organizer for the Association of Shrine Oriental Bands asking for advice and information about getting started with the forming of an O.B. Needless to say, the letter to Monty got a prompt reply with full info on what to do and it was decided that Jim Bracco would while in San Francisco for· the Shrine East-West Football game find out all he could from the oriental bands in attendance at the game about uniforms, instruments, etc.

January 11th, 1951 was the date we held our organizational meeting, elected. our first officers and a new O.B. was born. Those elected to serve as first officers of the band. were: Jim Bracco - Director, Floyd Charbeneau - President, Wm. Leverenz.-.Vice President. Marion Kuebler -Sgt-at-Arms, and Bob Parkhill as Sec'y-Treas. Having formed an oriental band, we applied for membership in the A.S.O.B. were accepted and received our charter from Monty FerDon a short time later - date on the same being January 29. 1951.

Our first playing and marching performance as an oriental band was at the regular April meeting of the Camel Herders in 1951. We started with 15 members and by the end of 1951 had a band of 35. Of the 15 charter members, only seven are left., Gene Loyd, Bob Smith, Harold Durr, Pete Briggs, Clyde Cushman, Ray Evanson, and Bob Parkhill. Retirements, transfers to other areas and visitations of the Black Camel accounting for the others.

Al Kader Oriental Band participates in the first section at all ceremonials, has never missed a parade, and naturally, furnishes the music for every initiation of the Camel Herders. During the year the band is kept busy with attendance at all Temple Stated Meetings, weekly practice sessions every Tuesday night, participates at all Shrine football games here in Portland, Oregon and many times makes the trek to Pendleton, Ore. to take part in annual Shrine game there. Each year during Shrine circus. time the O.B. is busy with the selling of ads for circus programs, also selling of said program as well as circus tickets. At the last two Shr1ne circus sessions the band has appeared 1n full orientals in the circus arena and played before the start of the big snow.

Each band member owns his own uniforms from the full orientals, which are made by the way by a member of our group Noble Gene Loyd, to the regular O.B. red coats, with grey slacks, white shirts, black tie and shoes and O.B. Fez which is worn when not appearing in full orientals. When occasion demands, all Nomads, of course, wear formals with a white coat. This band as did most O.B.s started with the double reed Chinese musette but has long since changed to the precision Steinhauer in key F for the 18-inch horns and key C for the 24-inch tenor musettes. We find that with our Steinhauer musettes we can play harmony that is not possible with any other musettes. We are most fortunate in having as a member of the band the man who makes these instruments and who quite naturally is in our musette section – Sahib Kirby Steinhauer.

Many of our instruments are owned by the Nobles who play them and if not owned by band members belong to the band. When on stage or 1n parade we can have 50 men in uniform led by band director, Noble Ben Gillaspie followed with two banner carriers, two who carry gongs, one magician, twenty-four musettes, eight tambourines, six conga drums, two cymbals,  two gong players and two tympani drums.

Al Kader O.B is a charter member of the Pacific Northwest Shrine Oriental Band Association.  Two members of our group, Chuck holder now retired, and Jim Crider has served through the line and are now Past Presidents of P.N.S.O.B.A. Sahib Larry Severson who is our band President for 1964 is also an officer of the O.B. Regional Ass’n. having been elected to the office of Sgt-at-Arms at the last regional meeting. Another Al Kader O.B. member, Bob Parkhill also serves the P.N.S.O.B.A. as Sec’y-Treas., and having served through A.S.O.B. line is a Past President of the National O.B. Ass’n. it would be most remiss not to mention here that Al Kader Oriental Band turned out in full force giving wonderful support to their above-mentioned fellow bandsman who was the outgoing ASOB President in 1960 at Imperial Session at Denver, Colorado.

This bearded bunch of Nomads has made many public appearances as well as those for Shrine and Masonic functions. They have been in attendance at most temple regional sessions of the P.N.S.A., also have made the trek on three occasions to participate in the W.A.S.O.B. Jamboree and World’s Championship O.B. contest. Although never having won the overall Championship we never the less have always brought home trophies, five of the same on one occasion.

As aforementioned, our first director was Jim Bracco and to Noble Jim must go a lot of credit for it was he who was the spark plug in getting this band started and leading it until he moved from Portland to Los Angeles some two years later. With Bracco leaving, the Ass’t director Dick Braughn took over and we were under the direction and leadership of Noble Dick for the next three years. A visitation of the Black Camel has taken Sahib Braughn to the Unseen Temple and for years now we have been under the leadership and guiding hand of Noble Ben Gillaspie. No question but what this O.B. is most fortunate in having as its director this Noble Son of the Desert who can and frequently does play any instrument in the band. Being a patient man, Sahib Ben has spent many hours instructing his fellow bandsmen and we have learned much under his most able leadership. Thanks to our director the musette section of Al Kader Oriental Band now plays notes and harmony we didn’t know could be done until this hard-working Nomad showed us the way. All music we play is written by Noble Ben and we are hoping his being appointed to Al Kader Divan will not interfere too much with his directing of our band.

The Nomads of Al Kader O.B. are firm believers in what has often been said…that nowhere will you find better fellowship than that which exists among oriental bandsmen. Certainly, we have found this to be so whenever we have had the pleasure to visit and rub elbows with our fellow bandsmen from other temples at various Shrine functions regardless of where it might have been.

Needless to say, we are proud of our unit and as a member of the Al Kader Uniformed Bodies are always ready to serve our temple in any way we can. No matter what the activities may be – ceremonial, circus, football game, annual sessions of PNSA and PNSOBA, or whatever there you will find, these bearded Nomads of Al Kader Oriental Band are always willing to play, parade, perform or lend a helping hand. May it ever be so.


Bob Parkhill



Greetings Bandsmen! 

We have just completed a very unusual year in our history.  All Association of Shrine Oriental Band Events were canceled beginning in March 2020 because of the Covid-19 Virus which has impacted the entire world, and in most areas still going strong.  The ASOB Jamboree to be held in Billings MT was canceled and the Imperial Council Session in Kansas City, Mo was also canceled. 

Congratulations to now Past President Darren DeHass P.P. for a very unusual year.  In March all Masonic and Shrine events were canceled by the leadership of the organizations.  When it became time for the Jamboree the Coronavirus was in full force and many states eliminated travel, group events, and close contact with each other. 

A new vocabulary came to the forefront, ZOOM Meetings, many of us knew nothing about electronic communication.  We had to learn in a very short time because we started talking about ZOOM Meetings, etc.  Well, we learned and started holding these meetings.  The ASOB Annual Meeting was held by a Zoom Meeting with about 22 members attending. We had our Annual Meeting and the election of officers for the year 2020-2021 electronically, it went very well.  I guess you can teach old dogs new tricks.

The slate of officers was elected going forward into 2020-2021 and hopefully further the Association’s longevity. The new Officers are: Noble Richard “Bear” Sobek, President, (Abdallah); Noble William “Bill” Bailey, 1st Vice-President (Midian); Noble Grady VanDiver, 2nd Vice-President, (Akdar); Past President Noble Chris Tsaros, 3rd Vice-President, (Al Azhar); Past President Ralph Jubb, Sergeant at Arms, (Al Kader);  Past President Don Moores, Re-elected Secretary/Treasurer, (Amara).   As you will notice the 3rd VP and the SAA positions are being filled with Past Association Presidents because despite the Officer’s efforts no one came forward to present their names for these positions.  It is hoped that someone reading this report will see fit to come forward and present their name for one or both these positions, so the President and the Executive Committee can appoint someone to fill these positions for going forward into next year.

The minutes of the Annual Meeting were distributed to the Executive Committee by email and no corrections have been reported to date; therefore the Minutes are approved as written.


Aleikum Es Selam,
Don Moores
A.S.O.B. Secretary/Treasurer