Butler [Young], Helen May
- Jill Sullivan
(b Keene, NH, May 17, 1867; d Covington, KY, June 16, 1957). American conductor. She excelled playing cornet and violin, studying violin with Bernard Listerman, concertmaster of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. In 1891 she organized and conducted the Talma Ladies Orchestra, renamed the U.S. Talma Ladies Military Band to capitalize on society’s love of bands. At the beginning of the twentieth century, she and her band toured America for twelve years using from fifteen to fifty players and several names, the most common being Helen May Butler’s Ladies Military Band. Her motto remained the same: “Music for the American people, by American composers, played by American girls.” One reviewer proclaimed, “without doubt the peerless ladies band of the world” and others referred to her as “Miss Sousa Jr.” She and Sousa were friends and she once conducted his band in concert. The C.G. Conn Company hired her and her soloists to promote their instruments supplying her entire band. Also a composer, in ...