Bandsman of the Year!

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


Our last band of the competition was up. Talking about showing some heart and bravery! Competing with only two bandsmen was Akdar Oriental Band hailing from Tulsa Oklahoma. They may have been the smallest band in the land, but they rated very highly with the audience in attendance. It really goes to show, that if you want to perform, then there is nothing that should prevent you from doing just that.

Jamboree 2019 Competition – Melha

Our four-person band, Melha from Springfield Massachusetts gave it a go. Unfortunately, we had some technical difficulties and the first part of their performance was unusable. I did manage to salvage the end as they played the competition song. What you won’t see is they had some technical difficulties with one of their horns but never stopped. Perseverance and no quit attitude, way to go gentlemen!


Next up was Al Kader (these are being posted in the order of their performance) out of Wilsonville, Oregon (Portland). This band stepped up to the Unlimited category so they would be able to compete head to head with Khiva. They are a pretty large band as well. Way to go guys! The competition was on.

Jamboree 2019 Competition – Khiva

I have split up each band into a separate post this year. What a competition, all of the bands did a wonderful job. If you missed Nashville, well all I can say is “you missed out”! We will start out the videos with the Khiva Oriental Band – the powerhouse from Amarillo Texas. Are there any Oriental Bands in Shrinedom that have more members?

M.A.S.O.B.A. 2018 – Virginia Beach VA

The Mid-Atlantic Oriental Band Association (MASOBA) held their annual meeting in Virginia Beach on September 7, 2018.  The officers were in attendance with the exception of 3rd VP Warren Lewis who was home recovering from illness. The election of officers was held and Luke Schofield (Irem) was elected to ride herd on us for the following year.  The other line officers moved up one chair and Dennis Guignet (Rajah) was elected to Sergeant At Arms and keeper of the blender.  Past President John K. Grumbein was once again elected to the Sec/Treas. position.  Past President Mahlon Ressel was escorted to his place of honor after receiving his “Has Been Pin” and life membership card.  Imperial Sir Jim Cain then proceeded to install the officers with the help of Imperial Chief Rabban Jeffery Sowden.  Several others on the Imperial Line were also in attendance.  The Potentates of both Rajah and Irem were also in attendance.

A collection of $152 was taken and $150 for parade registration for a total of $302 for the Ladder of Smiles.

ASOB Ambassador Keith Oviatt brought greetings from ASOB Pres Harry Pressman and announced his plans to attend our Mid Winter meeting in February in Reading, PA.  Saturday Parade results were 1st Place Jaffa and 2nd place Irem with Fred Dietrich named Best Drum Major.

The MASOBA Mid-Winter will be held in Reading Pa on February 23, 2019.  For information and reservations please contact Noble John K. Grumbein at or 7520 Trexler Circle, Trexlertown, PA 18087 and phone is (610) 395-6578.

A donation to the Ladder of Smiles is a great way to honor someone whether it is for a loved one’s passing, a birthday or special occasion.  At our point of life and our needs are less than they used to be, in the coming holiday season what better gift than a donation to the Ladder instead of a receiving another something that we don’t need.

Remember when your mother told you that “If you fall out of that tree and break your leg, Don’t come running to me!”

Until next time,

Aleliekum Es Selam


Visit to the Central States

Just now recovering from that long drive from Houston to Branson, MO to attend the CSSA convention. ASOB was well represented with myself, Dave McCarthy, Mike Hartup, Richard Sobeck, and Bill Bailey. The Oriental Band competition had eight bands plus two Shrine Centers combining to form a band. The planned Bally Hoo was canceled because of rain but managed to get enough to put on a show Thursday night. Friday was competition and Friday morning the CSAOB had a breakfast and that night had a dinner at the Branson Masonic Lodge for all the Oriental bands. The parade through downtown Branson was held Saturday morning and all the units who competed in their respective classes participated (Clowns. Patrols, Motor Corps, etc.). Left for home early Sunday morning and arrived completely wiped out Sunday night.

I’m putting the finishing touches on the ASOB mid-winter to be held at the Houston Marriott South Hotel October 12, 13. Planning to have a great weekend. We have a lot to discuss.

We have a new Ambassador for the Northeast region. He is Chris Parker form Mehla Shrine. Looking forward to working with Chris.

Ambassadors, PLEASE get articles to Darren about your regions. Everyone would be interested in what is going on in your region.

Don’t forget the LADDER OF SMILES. We have a goal of $70,000 to meet…

Florida Region Update – Fall 2018

Fall Greetings to all.

The Araba and Azan Oriental Bands have not reported any of their activities.

Noble Don Moores, Amara Oriental Band advised the Band is down to two members and unable to participate in Amara’s Ceremonials or parades.

Noble Robert Woodall, Bahia Oriental Band Treasurer, reported that although the Band has four dues-paying members, only he and President Millard Smith are “active”, meeting occasionally over Camel’s Milk to pay bills/ contribute to the Paper Crusade, First Lady’s Project, etc. Noble Eddie Davis, a longtime member of the Band, has been residing in Texas for a number of years, but diligently continues to maintain his membership.

The Great Sahib Oriental Band is moving right along with the most recent activity, parading, (actually “floating”), in the Englewood, FL “Pioneer Days” on September 3rd. Nine members enjoyed playing the best kind of music this side of Heaven for the many enthusiastic parade route bystanders. The Band finished the parade in great shape until the right tire of the float was visited by the “Tire Black Camel” on the return to the staging area, but were able to limp back with no injuries to Band members.

The Band is looking forward to the Fall Ceremonial in October. Also, the Band has organized a Mandarin Degree Team and will continue Tong #54, with a date of November 10 for a Degree presentation.


Remember the kids in the hospitals

God Bless You              God Bless Our Troops                      God Bless America


Yours in the Faith,

ASOB Florida Ambassador

What is the Ladder of Smiles?



At some oriental band meetings, you may see a fez passed for donations to the Ladder of Smiles.  At regional meetings or competitions you may see the same and hear me, or an A.S.O.B. officer or past president, ask for donations.  Most of the time the plea is for donations without explaining just what the Ladder of Smiles is and what it does.  Some of you are hearing and reading about the Ladder of Smiles for the first time and I hope any questions you have are answered in this article and the articles to come.

In Shrinedom there are two organizations that benefit our Shriners Hospitals for Children and our kids receiving treatment, the Clowns Sneaker Fund and the A.S.O.B. Ladder of Smiles. I don’t know much about the Sneaker Fund but I do know about the Ladder of Smiles. and I assume they are similar.

All the funds, (100%), donated to the Ladder of Smiles do directly benefit our hospitals and our kids.  There are no expenses deducted from your donations.  We are registered as a charitable organization as a 501 (c) 3 corporation and our fiscal year runs from Imperial Session to Imperial Session each year.

This is just a brief overview of just what is the Ladder of Smiles.  The next article will be about the history of the Ladder and how we are doing today.  But…President Harry has announced a goal of raising $70,000.00 during his year so please give generously and make Harry smile.

I bid you peace



Now that Imperial 2017 is over, I am hard at work putting my staff together. As of today, we have four new Ambassadors: Ed Harvey, Central States; James “Moose” Fitzgerald, Mid West; Dave Cravy, South Central and A.J. DiCaro, Panama. I’m doing my best trying to fill a slot in the Northeast.

We have a new Parliamentarian in Jim Whitehouse (Alzafar) and a new Chaplain in Johnny Wallace (Moslah). Our Ladder of Smiles goal this year is $70,000. That works out to be $800 per Oriental Band. Nobles, $800 per band in my mind is not asking too much. Every Temple has members and spouses that have Birthdays, Anniversaries, Births and in some cases Divorces. What a great way to celebrate those occasions.

Lastly, we are working toward the Jamboree to be held in Nashville, TN during Imperial 2019.1 have secured the Sheraton, Music City for our host hotel. Details will be worked out at a later date. Will let you know.


Have a great summer,

Harry Pressman, President, ASOB

Meet W. Richard “Bear” Sobek

Well now that I am really an Officer in ASOB, I guess it is time to say hello to all out there in the land of deserts and music.

I am W. Richard “Bear” Sobek, new 3rd Vice President for ASOB. I live in the country in Miami County, Kansas. I am semi-retired but manage a Bail Bond Business in 7 counties. My Beautiful Lady Fran keeps me from doing the middle of the night bonds, but if the money is good, I refuse to listen to her. I am still in one piece anyway.

I am proud to be a part of ASOB and look forward to working with our President and the rest of the officers to build more into this grand organization. Many out there have ideas and we need to hear more about them. I am also proud that Ed Harvey, a great member of the Abdallah Oriental Band, is our new Central States Ambassador and have always looked to him for help.


From the flatlands of the central state, I remain,

Richard “Bear” Sobek