Real Music & Real Estate . . .

Yiddishe Cup’s bandleader, Bert Stratton, is Klezmer Guy.

He knows about the band biz and – check this out – the real estate biz, too.

You may not care about the real estate biz. Hey, you may not care about the band biz. (See you.)

This is a blog with a gamy twist. It features tenants with snakes and skunks, and musicians with smoked fish in their pockets.

Stratton has written op-eds for the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Washington Post.



I’m experiencing flashbacks. Not unusual. I get these South Euclid flashbacks frequently. I remember when my uncle Bob got old and started dreaming about the Kinsman Road streetcar of his youth. At least that’s what he told me. He was decades out of Cleveland, too, living in Georgia.

The first two periods (classes) of high school, we practiced marching-band routines in the church parking next to the school. The parking lot had first-down markers and was the size of a football field. I stayed only one period. I could get away with that because I wasn’t a regular. I was an alternate. Every game, I marched in a different position. I spent more time remembering where to turn than actually playing music.

The band was fronted by the Golden Girl and the Silver Twins — baton-twirlers modeled after the Purdue University system. There were also flag-waving majorettes and a drum major. I joined marching band because I couldn’t be in concert band if I wasn’t in marching band. Was I a highbrow music snob? No. Mozart — never heard of the guy.

Concert band, for me, was a social thing. It was like gym because it was a mix of the entire student body. In concert band we annoyed the band director by chatting instead of listening. A couple times he got so mad he threw pencils at us. He never connected because the pencils hit the music stands.

The concert-band room had four white fiberglass sousaphones. Each sousaphone had a letter in the bell.  One sousaphone had A,  one R, one C, and one S. ARCS was the school nickname. Charles F Brush High in Lyndhurst, Ohio. Charles Brush — a contemporary of Edison — invented the arc light. That was a quality name — Arcs. Much better than Wildcats or Tigers. The school colors were brown and gold. Also quality.

We played Shaker Heights High. It was an afternoon game. Shaker didn’t have lights. Didn’t want to attract rowdies with Friday-night lights, I think. There were no fire-twirling baton-twirlers at the afternoon game. One of our band members walked across the entire football field on his hands. That was part of a Mary Poppins halftime show. We formed a kite and played “Let’s Go Fly a Kite.”

After the game I jumped on the band bus and watched the majorettes put away their flags and batons. We drove back to Lyndhurst, singing “Brush High Varsity” and “We’re From Brush High, Couldn’t Be Prouder.” We lost all our games.

shareEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter


1 Ken Goldberg { 05.31.23 at 9:29 am }

Band? I would have thought you were on the football team!

2 David Korn { 05.31.23 at 9:38 am }

You were a bandy?! I’m impressed. Nerdy, but I’m impressed.

3 Marc Adler { 05.31.23 at 2:05 pm }

I was in band in high school, Cranston High School East.
The thunderbolts. Clarinet and tenor sax. Best part of high school. We even had a 3 day band camp in the summer. Mr.
Hern our band teacher was like yours. We aggravated him but he was a nice guy and rarely got upset. We did Saturday afternoon football games and a few parades. I met a clarinet player last week I hadn’t seen in over 50 years. The drummers and trumpets were the wise guys. Some of your alumni became professional musicians.

Leave a Comment